Monday, August 3, 2009

Interesting Info on CNG Conversions

Obviously one of the biggest potential uses for natural gas is as a fuel for vehicles. That's what the Pickens Plan has been pushing with its support of the NAT GAS Act in Congress. There is a lot of conflicting information out there on the subject of CNG conversion, some of it put out by eager but biased groups representing both sides of the conversation.

I read an interesting analysis on the subject about a month ago by Robert Rapier that has resurfaced on the Oil Drum. What is new and fascinating is the gray text box at the end of the article (in the "Afterword" section), which is a response he got to the original piece from the EVP/Co-Publisher of The Auto Channel. In it he notes that one of the obstacles that CNG vehicle conversion faces is a very stiff licensing fee imposed on shops that do the work. As a result, it is extraordinarily expensive to legitimately do these conversions.

True, this kind of conversion is a process that requires a certified skill and appropriate inspections, but a fee of $10,000 per auto year, per engine type, per manufacturer strikes me as extreme and ridiculous. It's just the kind of thing that keeps CNG conversions as more of a rare, black market event. I'd love to know who wrote the bill that got that law passed. I'm not a conspiracy theorist by nature, but I have to believe that the oil lobby had a fat greasy finger in that pie.

Here is another synopsis and analysis of the article.

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