US CNG Conversions Still Going Nowhere Fast

U.S. CNG conversions still going nowhere fast.

So the price of gas goes up and everyone wants to jump on the CNG Bandwagon, the investors, the dreamers, the educators, the regulators, the politicians, the everyday driver and the list goes on and on, the only problem is that there is one big CNG road block, no CNG conversions available at a decent price for the common man also no one has any money (after a few years of Obamanamics) and the rules and regulations bogeymen is still around. Yes there are New vehicles with EPA Certs for $40K that will give you a few government handouts for the purchase of them and there are a few older OEM CNG Vehicles still on the road but there still isn’t a conversion system that is readily available for the daily driver, why is that? I will tell you why, the average driver in the United State drives a vehicle that is so over-regulated with strict standards and Emission testing that if they are faced with something as revolutionary as converting to natural gas and their check engine light comes on they go screaming to the closest governmental agency or dealership for protection. Another problem is jealously and infighting in the CNG community, in 2007 and 2008 as the price of gas rose to above $4.00 1000’s of vehicle owners in Utah converted their vehicles to natural gas. There were certain EPA certified converters that just didn’t like the competition the non-EPA converters were givng them, so they went crying to the Utah Highway Patrol and got them to outlaw any Natural Gas Vehicle conversions that did not have an EPA Certified systems they did so using their state mandated safety inspections. This rule change was short lived (the UHP was taken to court and lost) but it did show how some individuals in the CNG community have a propensity to run to government agencies and try to punish behavior they don’t like or agree with.

Anywhere else in the world the CNG mechanic and consumer would have a choice of CNG systems and Factory CNG Vehicles, in the United States we have little choice, CNG converters that install non-EPA certified systems must buy their components and systems from outside the U.S. (U.S. CNG suppliers will not sell to non-EPA aftermarket converters for fear of the EPA and its regulations) A modern non-EPA sequential CNG system is virtually identical to a certified system, the major difference is the tuning and testing.

A word about EPA Certified systems, they are only available for new Ford and Chevy trucks and a handful of new Ford and Chevy cars. What determines whether or not a company is willing to develop a EPA-certified system for a particular new vehicle is its marketability to Fleets, since the expense to certify will need to be balanced by the government handouts and rebates the vehicle owners receive. This EPA only legal model leaves out most of the vehicles in the U.S. Aftermarket non-EPA systems on the other hand are less expensive, adaptable to most any vehicle and subsequently without the extra expense of tuning, testing etc. are more affordable to the customer. The bureaucrats, politicians and other CNG enthusiasts that promote EPA-certified CNG systems need to understand that their approach no matter how well intentioned would only convert less than 1% of the nations vehicles even if everyone that drives a new Ford and Chevy truck could afford the conversion and actually did convert.

Regardless of what bureaucrats, politicians or CNG pundits try to feed us the American public just want to convert what they are driving as inexpensively as possible. The high cost of gas and the lagging economy has made it abundantly apparent that the EPA-certified model for CNG conversions will not work for the general public.

I really don’t want to see another new CNG website touting all of the advantages of Natural Gas conversions only to add, oh by the way non-EPA certified conversions are illegal and unless you have $30 to $40 K for a new car or truck or you want to drive a Honda GX (which will only go about 200 mile on CNG only) or you want to drive a 10 to 15 year old truck or a Caviler or Contour or old Ford cop cars you are out of luck.

lets face the cold hard facts that the top down, regulate first then wait for the Government to provide the funding just does not work, the interest and growth has to come from the industry and vehicles owners in other words the bottom up, they need an affordable viable option. Let’s push the old top down may I please have another handout model aside and start a bottom up do it on our own dime with safe inexpensive systems that everyone can afford.

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This entry was posted in Aftermarket converters, Automotive, CNG conversions, EPA, EPA Fanatics, Government, Green, Regulation, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to US CNG Conversions Still Going Nowhere Fast

  1. Van DeWitt says:

    Sorry to have to set you strait but there are some huge inaccuracy in your reporting.

    -First non EPA kits are a one size fits all application. Most are air induction (i.e. power loss) and and can “NEVER” be properly tuned on 90% of moder vehicles. I live in Utah and known for a face that the shops installing this type of kit see over a 60% return with check engine lights and burned up catalytic converters.

    -Utah’s local house bill 70 state that any car can be converted using as non epa kit as long as it complies to NFPA 52 installation and ODBII complaint. This is where all of the non EPA kits will fall short. Modern vehicles are monitored by a vast area of sensors that keep the vehicles finally tuned for the location they operate (adaptive learning). This works grate with kits specifically designed for the vehicles they are designed for. In the case of non EPA kits its a one size fits all kit that allows for very few modifications to allow for changes in air density y, temperate, and sea level. Thus the non-EPA kits will always have to be returned deepening on the time of year.

    -As for as cost is concerned its a chicken and egg scenario…..we can lower the cost of the kits until the demand reaches a sustainable level to divide the R&D cost across the board. Thus the high cost of conversion.

    The fact of the matter is until the infrastructure and demand for CNG vehicles increases dramatically the only ppl going to see a huge saving on CNG will be fleet or users that drive over 100 miles a day. And with the passing of the new NAT GAS ACT we will she some huge federal incentive to help the average Joe.

    Van DeWitt
    Go Natural CNG

    • Jim Younkin says:

      Sorry to have to set you strait but there are some huge inaccuracy in your reporting.
      -First non EPA kits are a one size fits all application.

      Van, not all non EPA-certified systems are one size fits all, they can be but there are non EPA-certified systems that are identical to certified systems, there are also vehicle specific kits.

      Most are air induction (i.e. power loss)

      World wide there are more aspirated (air induction) systems on cars but in the US most of the non EPA-certified systems on vehicles are sequential injection systems. Sometimes there is power loss and sometimes the non EPA-certified systems have as much power or better.

      and and can “NEVER” be properly tuned on 90% of moder vehicles.

      Some systems can be tuned better than others but modern sequential systems can be tuned to most modern vehicles. Aspirated systems are less tunable but I have seen many of them running well.

      I live in Utah and known for a face that the shops installing this type of kit see over a 60% return with check engine lights and burned up catalytic converters.

      I am not sure where you get your information. Yes some conversions do have check engine lights but then again some EPA-certified systems have check engine lights. Sometimes a catalytic converter is burned out but not often.

      -Utah’s local house bill 70 state that any car can be converted using as non epa kit as long as it complies to NFPA 52 installation and ODBII complaint. This is where all of the non EPA kits will fall short. Modern vehicles are monitored by a vast area of sensors that keep the vehicles finally tuned for the location they operate (adaptive learning). This works grate with kits specifically designed for the vehicles they are designed for. In the case of non EPA kits its a one size fits all kit that allows for very few modifications to allow for changes in air density y, temperate, and sea level. Thus the non-EPA kits will always have to be returned deepening on the time of year.

      Again, there are non EPA-certified systems identical to certified systems. Most of the drive-ability problems can be solved through proper tuning.

      -As for as cost is concerned its a chicken and egg scenario…..we can lower the cost of the kits until the demand reaches a sustainable level to divide the R&D cost across the board. Thus the high cost of conversion.
      The fact of the matter is until the infrastructure and demand for CNG vehicles increases dramatically the only ppl going to see a huge saving on CNG will be fleet or users that drive over 100 miles a day. And with the passing of the new NAT GAS ACT we will she some huge federal incentive to help the average Joe.

      I have found that the high price of gasoline is the biggest motivator and everyone should be able to convert.

      Van DeWitt
      Go Natural CNG

  2. Noel Ingle says:

    EPA certified conversions might be the most expensive CNG conversion in the world and they aren’t always trouble free. Mr. DeWitt is right about the payback on a $5000-$10000 EPA certified conversion. However, a $1500 DIY conversion pays back quickly if you even care about the payback.

    Sounds like both of you speak from experience. I have two CNG converted cars. One professionally converted at a cost of $5500(EFI) and the other I did myself for $1500(aspirated). The professionally installed fuel injected system performs slightly better, but not $4000 better. Americans will convert for under $2000 just like the rest of the world. Without any government tax credit BS. I don’t know why we should pay $5000-$10000 for a government blessed conversion. Both my conversions cause a check engine light from time to time. Millions of Americans are driving around with their check engine light on. I was concerned about the engine code so I bought the Kiwi Drive Green device for $200:

    http://www.plxkiwi.com/

    It mounts like a GPS and shows driving efficiency, engine codes, and sensor readings. Also lets you clear the check engine code.

    Here is a link to a study of the effect of natural gas on catalytic converters designed for gasoline. It’s pretty interesting and informative.

    http://tinyurl.com/4yyscgp

    I’ve always wondered if the Honda Civic GX uses a standard gasoline catalytic converter and O2 sensors or something designed specifically for natural gas.

  3. Pingback: Oldies but Goodies, CNG Articles from the past… | YounkinCNG.com

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