Jack the Giant Killer brought hope to the CNG Community again by breaking down some of the Urban Myths that surrounded CNG conversions. The Highway Patrol had believed the Urban Myth that EPA Certification guaranteed that a CNG install was “safe”. But in actuality any CNG vehicle, certified or not, needs to be inspected individually by a trained CNG inspector to verify a safe install. They also should be tested periodically to verify ongoing clean emissions. Jack’s legal complaint and the subsequent legal injunction mandated that the Highway Patrol must remove the EPA Certification requirement as part of their Safety Inspection. The rest of the CNG safety requirements in the inspection were left in tact.
Another Urban Myth that was dispelled was that any CNG conversion is “illegal” unless it is “EPA certified”. This was great news for the CNG industry because aftermarket converters without “EPA certification” who had felt they were being told they were outside the law, were now vindicated through Jack’s actions. The truth is, the EPA certifies OEM vehicles and CNG conversions systems for manufacturers for the “useful life” (10 years or 100,000 miles) of the vehicle. They do not and can not certify every CNG conversion. Nowhere in the EPA regulations does it say that “all CNG conversions must be certified”. Jack’s injunction supports this.
Even though Jack’s victory has given hope to the CNG community, there are still lingering myths and misinformation that need to be dispelled in order for the use of CNG vehicles to be widespread here in the U.S. The biggest bottleneck has always been the myths about the EPA and CNG conversions. It is not “big oil” or “foreign oil”, it is not “big business”, its just the people’s fear of government regulation.
How quickly CNG could move forward was demonstrated last year here in the state of Utah. The low price of Natural Gas, coupled with high gasoline prices produced many entrepreneurs and pioneers in the CNG industry. These people researched and imported CNG conversion kits that had been proven in other countries to be safe and clean running. There were an estimated 4,000 vehicles converted to Natural Gas, most of them using non-EPA approved kits. This was a huge increase in the number of CNG vehicles in our nation. For a while the people’s fear of government regulation was overcome by the price difference between natural gas and gasoline. This price difference caused many people to move forward and convert their vehicles to CNG.
World Wide millions of cars have been converted to CNG safely and inexpensively. Many countries over the past 30 years have rolled out effective CNG programs. We will be exploring how they have been able to do this.
Jim Younkin is a mechanic with more than thirty years experience in automotive repair. His passions include car racing, mountain climbing, ice climbing, and CNG conversions. He enjoys sharing his passions and connecting with others of like mind. See more about Jim at http://www.younkincng.com
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