Natural gas has many interesting topics that go beyond just being a general energy source. A recent popular topic of interest has been that natural gas can actually fuel cars and trucks. Believe me, there are many dealers that are ready to sell you a natural gas fueled vehicle, the question is are you ready? Another question may be can this be done with my existing vehicle? This is really one of the most fascinating questions about the natural gas. The existing vehicle market. The fact that you can convert your existing vehicle to run on natural gas is even more fascinating. Let's see if it is possible and what it will cost you.
From what I have gathered, the process of converting your car to Compressed Natural Gas or CNG is complex but not necessarily difficult. Most websites specify that you, as a consumer, need to do your homework first. You will need to ask yourself the question of converting to CNG is going to make sense financially for you as a driver. If you don't have a fueling station near or are not going to have a home CNG fueling station, then a conversion may not be the way to go. Now if you are trying to be environmentally friendly but driving twice as far to fuel up, what is the point?
So let's say you do have a fueling station near you. Your next step will be to find a reputable company to do the conversion on your vehicle. By doing a quick search, I found four locations in the Houston area that do the conversion on fleet vehicles and personal vehicles. The companies are out there. After reading quite a few websites it seems that most of the conversion kits have the same components. Cost really just depends on what types of materials you end up using for your CNG gas tank. I found out that the companies that do installs are not 'EPA Certified', that is just fluff, like adding the word 'Natural' on a soda can. So do your research to ensure you are working with a company that knows their stuff.
Below is an excerpt from a Popular Mechanics article that gives an overview of all is needed for the conversion.
There is one last thing to touch on, incentives. This subject has been a bit cloudy, as most things are when you are trying to read into government documents. It seems the EPA does not incentives us average Joe's very well for converting from gasoline to CNG. However, there are incentives for corporations, surprise, surprise. However, some individual states or cities give incentives. But you have to go through a long application process & there is usually a limited amount of funds available. So it is a first come, first serve situation. So really you have to look at the big picture. If you are down with spending the capitol up front for the conversion of your vehicle, your saving will be on the back end since natural gas is still cheaper than gasoline.
So there you have it! Conversion is possible. It is just going to take some work on you, the consumer's end. As long as it is a fiscally responsible choice for you, I say go for it!
Croft Production Systems is a company that manufactures natural gas processing equipment. We have an entire line of units that dehydrate natural gas with zero emissions so your company can get to work without having to wait for air permits.