Frequently Misrepresented Facts about CNG Conversions
by Jim Younkin
As I was introduced to CNG Conversions last year I was overwhelmed with lies and falsehoods and under whelmed with solid information. Like everyone else as I searched the internet for information about CNG Conversions I kept coming up with a blank. What I did find out though is that as I asked my peers almost everyone had an opinion about CNG Conversions. As I found out later most of these opinions were false and unfounded. Those with the strongest opinions (which usually turned out to be rumors and innuendo) usually had something to gain by spreading them. I am compiling this list to dispel some of their misconceptions, now over a year later the real truth about CNG Conversions is finally coming out into the open.
(1) Are CNG vehicles are more dangerous than gasoline vehicles?
This is a false statement, natural gas is less volatile, and the CNG tanks are bullet proof and safety tested. The CNG vehicle safety record is second to none. If gasoline vehicles were a new technology, they would never make it to the road, gasoline vehicles are burning up all the time, …
(2) CNG Vehicles always run cleaner than gasoline.
False, CNG can run cleaner than gasoline but it all depends on the tuning. Many “OEM” (original equipment manufacturer) CNG conversions may out started out running clean, but over time may go out of tune, all vehicles need retuning from time to time.
(3) A CNG Conversion that is EPA Certified will always be clean and safe.
False, An EPA Certification may start out clean but whether it is safe is the responsibility of the installer. The EPA Certification is to assure that the system will continue to burn clean throughout the “useful life” of the vehicle A little known fact is that since most all of the older CNG Vehicles on the road today are EPA Certified. As these vehicles age they may develops leaks and runs dirtier, the older EPA Certified vehicles on the road today may be the dirtiest and the most prone to leaks. Actually non EPA conversions since they are more readily tunable may be cleaner as they age.
(4) The EPA has been the biggest help to the CNG Conversion Industry through its regulation and monitoring.
False, The EPA has actually been the biggest threat and burden on the CNG Conversion industry in the US. The linkage that ties a rebate to EPA Certification is illegal and favoritism on its face. The installers overcharge about the same amount as the rebate. Fewer vehicles are converted and many prospective CNG Conversion buyers are scared away.
(5) The EPA can certify any CNG Conversion
False, the EPA will only certify new vehicles; this is due to the fact that “Certification” testing is only valid within the “useful life” of a vehicle, 100,000 miles.
(6) EPA Certification never expires
False, this is one of the biggest misnomers in CNG Conversions. The Certification, like a vehicle “warranty” expires as the vehicle wears out. The certification expires after 100,000 miles.
(7) All CNG Conversions must be EPA Certified
False, this is the most vicious lie, the EPA will certify for a price a new vehicle but they have no time for or interest in the rest of the CNG Conversions as long as they are safe and clean.
(8) Converting a Vehicle to CNG is considered “tampering” and is illegal
False, “tampering” is causing a vehicle to run dirty or removing a pollution device from the vehicle. If a CNG Conversion runs clean it is as legal as any other car driving down the road.
(9) A CNG Conversion system you buy on the internet is a recipe for disaster.
False, it’s a sad fact that the United States is behind the rest of the world when it comes to CNG conversion components. The leaders in CNG System development are in Europe and South America. There are many excellent CNG component manufacturers in the US but due to over regulation they have chosen to sell most of their CNG components outside the US.
(10) Anyone installing a CNG Conversion must be trained by the EPA to be safe and legal.
To a Certified mechanic this statement is really a laugh…. First of all the EPA does not certify mechanics. ASE has a Alternative Fuel Certification called the F1, they also have certifications in all aspects of the automotive industry. CSA has a CNG tank inspection and there are other organizations who train in CNG installs. Any mechanic with moderate experience should be able to install a conversion system. Of course they should be familiar with all NFPA52 safety regulations and comply to them.
(11) When it comes to CNG Conversions the US is a world leader
False, the US is actually behind many third world countries when it comes to CNG Conversions. There are many states like Utah, Oklahoma and California who already have filling stations in place but due to the vicious lies spread about CNG most vehicle owners have been scared away.
(12) All Vehicles converted to CNG will loose fuel economy and power.
Yes and No. Most CNG conversions may cause a slight loss in power but with some modern, sophisticated conversion systems you may actually gain power and economy. CNG/Diesel conversions actually increase power.
About Jim: 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 other of like mind. See more about Jim at http://www.younkincng.com
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-427-2284