Converting your Car from Gasoline to Natural Gas – Part II

This is the second part about natural gas. In Part one we looked at the day to day uses of natural gas. We also talked about alternatives to gasoline and excess driving. Today we will look at the conversion of a car from gasoline to natural gas.

The process of changing your car to Natural Gas.

It is vitally important to take your vehicle to someone who knows what they are doing. In addition, that person must be a certified compressed natural gas installer (CNG).

Remember that not all cars can be converted.  This means that because of the way a car is built, it may not meet the qualifications to be changed. Only an installer could tell you if this is the case. The installer will need to review the car that is being considered and the cost analyzed.

There will be a sizable weight addition to the car. The conversion can add anywhere from 200 to 500 pounds.   A large tank is added to your car to hold the natural gas.  A fuel regulator will also need to be added.

The pressure of natural gas needs to be reduced from around 3000 psi to 125 psi. The 125 number allows the lower pressured gas to travel to the engine so it can cause the engine to work.

There is a specific ratio that works best with natural gas. The same is the case for gas as well. Therefore, the engine needs to be programmed slightly different for natural gas than for gasoline.  After some tinkering with the engine and adding a few parts, you are ready to go with natural gas.

What is the biggest headache with natural gas?

The funniest thing is that the biggest problem has nothing to do with the car itself.  The biggest problem is the distribution of the natural gas. Finding a station that allows for fill-up will take some special planning. If you’re driving with gasoline, you really don’t have to worry about it very much. You just look for an exit or a gas station and you are set. That is far from the case with natural gas.

There are a few fill-up stations that allow for natural gas. It is important to know where these are at all times. Often you will find yourself filling up even when you are empty.

You can have natural gas delivered to your home. But it comes in at 0.5 psi. Since this is the case, you will need a compressor to get the natural gas to 3600 psi and placed into your tank. This may also mean that it could take up to 22 hours to get your tank filled.

There is a car, the Honda Civic, that has a home compressor paired with the car. It allows for an 8 hour fill-up.  This is the only car that does this. But, if natural gas continues to get more numbers, this could be an area of large improvement.

Can you buy a Car with Natural Gas?

The answer to this is yes. If you don’t want to change a car from gasoline to natural gas, you could always purchase a car from the dealer that uses natural gas. But be careful and a good planner.  Check out the models, average speeds, and other areas of the purchase to make sure you are getting a good deal.

Is Natural Gas a good idea?

Ultimately, this is the question that needs to be asked. The answer will depend on you and your desire to have a natural gas. Savings can be seen in natural gas over gasoline. Incredible savings can be seen both financially and savings when it comes to the environment itself. But the stress of fill-up may be too great.  Therefore, it’s easy to say that natural gas is a good idea; it is far more difficult to say if it is plausible and accessible enough to make it worth it.

To learn more about natural gas – take a look back at Part 1

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