CNG Car Conversion is for Everyone
Compressed Natural Gas is a clean burning alternative fuel that solves many of today's economic problems. However, the bi-fuel (drive on either gas or CNG) CNG car conversion kit is not exactly cheap (easily over $5,000 for parts and labor), and most of us need to justify the investment financially. It really depends on a few main questions in order to be practical from a financial standpoint:
- Do I drive at least 15,000 miles per year?
- Is my vehicle going to give me at least 3 or 4 more years so I can payback the expense with savings?
- Do I have a CNG pump station nearby? (see "pump locator" link at top right)
- Will I be OK to lose most of my trunk space for the placement of the CNG tank?
Many American families spend over $400 per month on gasoline. CNG averages about a quarter of the price of gasoline in many areas. At 25% the price of regular fuel you could very well save $3600 per year! I'm really simplifying, but you get the point.
This is very important because the odds are that you aren't going get a FREE CNG car conversion kit, nor will your government pay you for it with tax credits and rebates. (Click above on tab bar above "Government Rebates and Incentives" after you read this page for more information)
"But I heard on the radio that I'd get $10,000 for converting my car to Compressed Natural Gas!"
You probably did, and you probably read about it on hundreds of blogs, forums, and websites. The truth is that pretty much all the money set aside for those programs has been used up. Many state and federal programs existed, but almost all of them have expired except for Utah, Oklahoma, and a few others. You can see a Government list of programs here. SkyCNG.com will keep you posted on new developments so check back frequently.
You wish. What most people won't tell you is that your car likely doesn't QUALIFY for the CNG rebates, etc., no matter if they're state or federal programs. Mechanics have told me that most of the conversions performed in the past few years were NOT eligible for any kind of refund or tax credit. This is because the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulates most of the qualification of these programs. They have "certified" certain CNG conversion kits for a relatively short list of usually late model vehicles and engines (See that short list of EPA certified CNG kits). You can click here to learn more about the CNG regulations and more detail on this subject. Note: Some "CNG friendly" states had a little more liberal provisions for rebates and credits. We hope those trends will continue. The real kicker is that in order to qualify for those regulated incentives you had to pay over $12,000 for the EPA kit. Why pay $12,000 in order to save $3,000? Just get a good conversion for about $6-7,000.
"If I can't get a rebate, then why should I do it?"
Remember the $3600 per year you can save? That's why. If you commute a long way you can save a lot more than that. Then when you get a new job close to home, you have significantly increased the resale value of your car.
"OK it's making sense, but why dont more people do it?"
Because most people don't know the facts or they have been mislead (which is why SkyCNG is here). Many people don't realize how convenient the growing infrastructure of CNG fill stations is. That's why at the top of this page you can find a CNG pump in your area. You may not live next to a CNG station, but you probably drive past quite a few on the way to and from work. It needs to be convenient because the CNG fuel cylinders don't provide the same kind of driving distance as gasoline. Your car will get the same mile per gallon, but the high pressure CNG cylinder will only have the capacity for six to ten g.g.e. (gasoline gallon equivalent). Luckily, very few people disable the vehicle's ability run on gasoline. You have a bi-fuel car! Keep a few gallons of regular unleaded in the gas tank and you'll be just fine.
Where do I get my Compressed Natural Gas car conversion kit?!?
SkyCNG cannot stress the importance of having an ASE certified mechanic perform your car conversion.
When installed correctly you have absolutely nothing to fear. If installed wrong you could very well die or get horribly, horribly injured. Further, make sure the shop has a reputation for doing legal and legitimate CNG conversions. There
is NO SUCH THING as an "EPA Certified" mechanic or shop! Just go with someone who can prove their
experience, although many states are adopting a "CSA Standard" for mechanics to work on CNG.
SkyCNG does not recommend or suggest doing the conversion yourself or under your neighbor's
What are the main components of a CNG conversion kit and what does it cost?
There are two main types of CNG car conversion kits. With the SkyCNG sequential systems you'll get a high pressure cylinder (the single most expensive component of the CNG system... learn about the 4 types of CNG cylinders), cylinder valve, fuel injection electronics (emulator), pressure regulator mixer, and the tubing that connects it all. High performance kits with ultra-light weight type 4 cylinders could run around $15,000.
How do I know if my kit is EPA Certified?
It actually depends on the vehicle and not the kit. Your neighbor's brand new CNG vehicle with an "EPA Certified" car conversion kit could very well have the EXACT SAME system as the kit you install in your 2001 Toyota Camry.