Natural gas is a natural source of energy used in everyday life for electricity and heating. It’s also used for cooking, manufacture of commercially organic chemicals and as the fuel for vehicles. It’s created under the Earth’s surface when animal and plant composites are exposed to heat and pressure. This is a process which lasted for millions of years.
In 2012, Honda placed on the market their car running on natural gas in the US. However, the Honda Civic GX series was discontinued from production in 2015 due to the high price. There are other solutions, though, which proved to be more cost-effective and practical. Other manufacturers offer bi-fuel vehicle which runs on either natural gas or gasoline. Existing vehicles can be converted to natural gas power even though they weren’t primarily designed as such.
By 2016, there were 24.452 million of vehicles on natural gas. The biggest user is the Asia-Pacific region where China has 5 million of total 6.8 million vehicles in the area. These demands also lead to increase of the refuelling stations on the global level.
Natural gas is so well received because it’s cheaper and better for the environment than the regular one. If you think about adding this feature to your vehicle, here are some helpful tips.
1. Why convert to natural gas?
Natural gas is better for the environment than the regular means of fuelling. It’s a good solution for the more eco-friendly means of transport don’t reach the high commercial use. Even such a small step can help stop the global warming process which is more than obvious problem around the world. Research shows that vehicles running on natural gas cause 70% less pollution than the standard ones.
Besides helping the environment, you would also downsize your fuel expenses. It may be costly to install it at first, but it will pay off in the long run. The other plus side is that the performance stays the same as with gasoline.
Calculate your monthly spending on regular fuel for the distance you usually travel. Then, check the statistics predicting the natural gas cost for the same period based on your vehicle type.
2. Calculate the budget
The price of conversion is the reason why people decide not to convert their vehicle to run on natural gas. Even though it is expensive, you will gain a lot for a one-time cost. The best way to approach this expense is if you plan your budget right.
For example, project the budget for the whole year you would like to convert to gas. Include the costs of general vehicle inspection, tire change and other seasonal repairs. Also, leave an appropriate amount for the unpredicted costs which may occur and are not covered by your insurance.
Use the monthly fuel cost vs. the monthly predicted cost of natural gas for further calculations. When inserting these two options for comparison, you’ll be able to easily come to your decision and, also, the budget calculation.
3. Note the fuelling stations
You’ll be surprised by the low number of fuel stations considering that popularity of natural gas-powered vehicles is growing. But don’t let this be a reason to give up on the installing a conversion kit. Note all fuelling stations in the area you live in, and always monitor the gas consumption.
Basically, you will act the same as when driving on gasoline. Even then you had to calculate how much fuel you’ll need or have left for a certain distance. You will do the same here, only with more vigilance because fuelling stations can be scarce in the remote areas.
4. Longer engine life
Natural gas is cleaner which makes it good for your engine. Your vehicle is as good as it the engine is. This is something any auto mechanic can tell you. Gasoline and diesel leave a lot of residue in the engines and valves. After a while, this creates clogs and causes the engine failures.
Natural gas powered vehicles work on the principle of combusting methane gas. Methane is natural gas in its cleanest formit’s removed at the source without any artificially added contaminants. This attribute leads to cleaner conversion to energy and, thus, prolongs the engine’s lifespan.
5. Consult professionals
Installing the conversion kit in your vehicle is something you can do yourself, but shouldn’t. There are certain regulations that your vehicle must comply with in order to convert to natural gas. Look for the certified auto service centre and consult them regarding the type of vehicle you’re driving.
Additionally, ask them for price calculation and possible side effects of the conversion process. Professional service is safer and leads to fewer problems than if you do it yourself. Also, you can cause some damage to the car and so create more expenses than planned to take.
6. Loss of space in the vehicle
The issue of losing any space in the car trunk area can serve as the deterrent to convert. This is especially important to truck drivers since they depend on the work area the gas tank would occupy. However, surveys show that drivers have used to this very quickly without complaining. This proved that efficiency of the natural gas is worth sacrificing a certain amount of space and reorganizing the storage area.
If there is something you can do to change the world for the better, you should do it. And converting your vehicle to running on natural gas is one of those things. It is also good for your budget and engine, while not making your vehicle any different than before. Well, you won’t be able to pack the same amount of cargo as before, but there are some alternative solutions for that, too.