CNG Nazi’s

CNG Conversions in the United States a closer look

Over the past few years as the price of gasoline fluctuated higher and higher more and more motorists are choosing to convert their vehicles to Compressed Natural Gas. Even though there has been progress in CNG Conversion information area the consumers choice to convert is still fraught with miss-conceptions, urban legends and false opinions.

 Oil companies, Natural Gas proponents, CNG Chat groups and Forums, Vehicle manufacturers, Clean City Groups, EPA Certified CNG upfitters and many others “seem” to promote CNG Conversions but what are they really promoting?

If you do an online search for CNG Conversions below are the answers you will find from the larger CNG Converters and CNG Promoters if you ask the question “can I convert my vehicle to natural gas?”

http://www.cngnow.com/vehicles/convert-to-cng/Pages/information.aspx

From cngnow.com:

Typically, certified installers will only perform a CNG conversion on new or nearly new vehicles. CNG conversion kits must meet stringent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and/or California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements. Different states have different requirements on vehicle emissions, so please check whether your state follows EPA or CARB guidelines before purchasing or converting your vehicle.”

http://cngchat.com/forum/showthread.php?1767-quot-Can-I-convert-my-____-to-run-on-CNG-quot

From From John Mittin of CNG Chat

“There is no shortage of illegal kits out there which purport to convert anything with four wheels to run on CNG. There is also no shortage of shadetree mechanics willing to throw these dubious kits on your vehicle. While they and you might never be caught, there are many downsides to this including: unqualified mechanics installing poorly engineered / dangerous high-pressure flammable gas systems; messing up the vehicle’s fueling system and diagnostics (engine light constantly on & burning up catalysts), fines and penalties; zero tax credits to offset the installation. If you are in California, don’t even think about it… CHP impounds vehicles without a valid CARB certificate.”

http://www.gonaturalcng.com/cng-conversion-kits/faq/

From Go Natural

“Why do some other companies claim that they can convert any vehicle to run on CNG?

Companies that offer all-make conversions are not selling EPA or CARB certified kits. These kits are illegal in all 50 states. These converters and the owners of these vehicles can be subject to penalties and fines. These kits are also typically less sophisticated in nature, which can have a negative impact on mileage, power and the durability of the engine and other components such as the catalytic converter(s).”

http://autogasamerica.com/why-cng/

From Autogasamerica

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires the manufacturers of aftermarket systems to certify that their conversion systems meet emissions and onboard vehicle diagnostics interface requirements. EPA can levy substantial fines for violating this requirement, since it is against the law to tamper with emissions systems on vehicles if the result is greater emissions.”

http://www.ngvc.org/pdfs/FAQs_Converting_to_NGVs.pdf

From NGVC.org

“Q What about retrofitting older vehicles?

A In March 2011, the U.S. EPA revised regulations covering the conversion of older vehicles. Under the new rules, manufacturers who offer aftermarket conversion systems intended for use on vehicles that are more than 2 model years old no longer are required to obtain a certificate of conformity for such systems and they no longer have to pay certification fees. The new rules, however, do require that EPA “approve” systems after reviewing test data submitted by the manufacturer. In order to encourage additional aftermarket systems, the rules streamline some testing requirements and allow manufacturers increased ability to combine vehicle and engine test groups, alleviating some of the costs associated with demonstrating emission benefits of natural gas systems. In the past, few manufacturers had been interested in offering systems for older vehicles due to technical complications associated with certifying such vehicles, but the new rules may change this.

Q What about vehicles that EPA considers beyond their useful life?

A EPA also finalized new requirements for vehicles or engines that have exceeded their useful life. For light duty vehicles, the useful life can be 8 – 10 years, or 100,000 to 150,000 miles in some cases. Ages and mileage for heavy-duty engines vary. As in the case of vehicles that are more than 2 model years old, EPA will no longer require manufacturers to obtain a certificate of conformity or pay a certification fee. Manufacturers, however, must obtain EPA approval in advance of selling such systems and they must provide a detailed description of their systems and indicate a basis for believing the systems will not comprise emissions when installed.

It is likely that manufactures of systems intended for such vehicles or engines will need to conduct some initial emissions testing to demonstrate the robustness of the strategies they employ and the capabilities of their equipment. EPA will provide an electronic posting of information concerning systems that it has approved.”

http://ewsews.com/cngfaq.php#legal

From ewsews.com

“Are your kits EPA Certified?

  • No, and you are not required to have an EPA certified conversion kit installed on your car if it is over 2 years old. Most conversion kits installed throughout the USA are not EPA certified conversion kits.Conversion kits can be EPA approved for vehicles over 2 years old. Our conversion kits do not tamper with any engine devices or controls so they do not violate any anti tampering laws, however, we are in the process of getting our conversion kits EPA approved for many engines. We have tested the emissions on many vehicles using our kits and the engines always have fewer emissions when running on CNG.”

http://www.marvinscng.com/tax-incentives–facts.html

From MarvinsCNG.com

“Q, WHAT VEHICLES CAN I OR SHOULD I CONVERT TO BI-FUEL OR DUAL FUEL?

A. WE CAN CONVERT ALL INTERNAL COMBUSTION GASOLINE OR DIESEL ENGINES.
NON-E.P.A. CERTIFIED KITS ARE ALLOWED FOR 
ALL VEHICLES THAT OPERATE WITHIN OBDII AND OBDI GUIDELINES AS PER E.P.A.

CONVERTING VEHICLES TO RUN ON CNG IS A VERY HEALTHY THING TO DO FOR YOU, THE ENGINE, AND ENVIROMENT. MAKE SURE YOUR VEHICLE IS IN GOOD OPERATING CONDITIION BEFORE CONVERSION. CNG BURNS CLEANER THAN GASOLINE/DIESEL/PROPANE.
VEHICLES WITH LOWER MILEAGE, HARDNED CYLINDER HEAD VALVES AND WELL MAINTAINED ENGINES ARE RECOMMENDED.

Q. WILL IT VOID MY VEHICLE WARRANTY?

A. MAGNUSON MOSS WARRANTY ACT US Code – Title 15, Chapter 50, Sections 2301-2312

  • According to the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, a vehicle manufacturer cannot void the warranty of your vehicle due to an aftermarket part unless they can prove that the aftermarket part was the cause or contributed to the failure of the vehicle (15 U.S.C. 2302(C)). It’s always best to work with a performance-oriented dealership, but no matter who you choose, you’re protected by the law.

Section 2301-2312 of the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act:”

So after reading all of these opinions are you thoroughly confused? You are not alone. Let us look over these various statements and see if we can uncover the truth.

Three of the most miss used phrases that the enemies of aftermarket “non-EPA certified” CNG conversions like to throw around are “illegal CNG Conversion” , “tampering” and “substantial fines and penalties.”

Let’s answer the question are all “non-EPA certified” CNG conversions illegal?

From Blacks Law dictionary..

What is ILLEGAL?

Not authorized by law; Illicit ; unlawful; contrary to law. Sometimes this term means merely that which lacks authority of or support from law; but more frequently it imports a violation. Etymologically, the word seems to convey the negative meaning only. But in ordinary use it has a severer, stronger signification; the idea of censure or condemnation for breaking law is usually presented.”

For some act to be illegal there must be a law that pertains to it, there needs to be proof that the law has been broken, also there needs to be enforcement of the law to make it a deterrent….. otherwise people ignore it.

 From the EPA site:

Emissions Regulations

Under the Clean Air Act, EPA has the authority to regulate vehicle emissions. Vehicles and engines from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must be certified to meet applicable emissions standards. Regulations are in place to ensure those emissions do not increase as a result of changes made to a vehicle or engine, including in a conversion. The Clean Air Act prohibits anyone from knowingly removing or rendering inoperative any device or design element installed on a certified vehicle or engine.”

As you can see even the EPA does not say that doing a conversion is tampering. They do say “ Regulations are in place to ensure those emissions do not increase as a result of changes made to a vehicle or engine, including in a conversion.”

The Clean Air Act prohibits anyone from “knowingly removing or rendering inoperative any device or design element installed on a certified vehicle or engine. ” In other words you can’t increase emissions or remove or modify pollution devices.

Many vehicles on the road have pollution devices removed and have increased emissions. The EPA “certifies” only new or nearly new vehicles. They have no “in-use” testing of vehicles therefore they have no way of knowing if a vehicle is in violation of the clean air act. People that live in states that do Emission tests can test vehicles, if they are above the emission standards they are just repaired, they are not fined.

Even though there are tens of thousands of vehicles on the road that have emissions standards that are above a states specified limits why have CNG conversions been targeted for condemnation as excerpted above. 

Don’t you think it’s possible that these individuals (businesses and lobbyists) have agendas? They do.  EPA Certified Converters want the largest share of the market even though their systems limit them to a small percentage of the available market,

I have personally asked Marty Reineman the Alternative Fuel Representative for the EPA, on numerous occasions if any individuals have been prosecuted or fined for “illegal” CNG conversions.  I was told no-one has been fined.

We need safe clean conversions, what we don’t need is fear-mongering or false statements that slow the spread of CNG conversions.

 

7 Responses to CNG Nazi’s

  1. CNG Advocate says:

    These statements at the end of this blog are very misleading. Just because someone may or may not have been prosecuted for altering a vehicle to run on CNG doesn’t make it Legal. You are essentially telling people that it is “OK” to do something because no one has yet been caught. I mean come on what are we saying here? – Break federal law its OK no one has been caught so it must not be illegal and I’m sure the vehicles are cleaner than gasoline just trust me – ??? Make sense? Companies that certify have to produce documentation that they are meeting the safety standards and emission standards. They also submit documentation that shows they are meeting the Emission Standard on the same equipment that the gasoline was tested. Not only that but these companies that Certify the CNG Conversion Systems also are required to maintain insurance and warranty guarantees to protect the consumers. Your statement “We need safe clean conversions” How does a consumer know it is safe? How does the consumer know it is clean?

    You have to remember that the companies that have certified their equipment to meet the Emissions Standards have thrown out hundreds of thousands of dollars to Certify products with no guarantee they will get their money back. They spend the money so that they can prove thay meet the standards set forth in the USA. Sure they are here to make a profit however I see all of the groups doing non-certified kits trying to make a profit as well. Only their profits are made because of cutting corners and providing no evidence that the consumer is getting what they are paying for. I guarantee that the Certified Kit Manufacturers would make a lot more money if they didn’t have to certify their kits. I would not call that “fear-mongering or false statements that slow the spread of CNG conversions” I would call that companies that put out the time and money to do things by the book. Companies that can demonstrate how their products perform using apples to apples comparison.

    • Jim Younkin says:

      Advocate, There are advantages and disadvantages to both EPA Certified systems and non-certified systems. As you know EPA certified systems are expensive, they are for a few new trucks and very few cars, they include no imports and the general public doesn’t drive these vehicles. Even the EPA compliance provided to the Intermediate Age and Outside Useful Life is only a one time test. Some people choose to buy cars that have warranties and some don’t, some people buy new vehicles and some buy hoopties. To each his own. There are standards set for CNG conversions when it comes to safety, if a person wants to get “EPA permission” for their conversions that is up to them. The main reason CNG converters have EPA Certified systems is for tax incentives where available and so the factory warranties stay in effect. Everyone has a choice but the main point I was trying to get across is that CNG Conversions are not illegal, that is a myth perpetuated by some and it needs to stop.

    • Thomas says:

      In many cases, the only “CORNER” they cut is the $95,000 “FEE” (Extortion money) paid to the EPA. And your contention that it’s somehow about safety is also comical, THERE IS NO SAFETY TEST associated with EPA testing and certification, which means, as long as you follow NFPA-52 and CSA guild lines, your just as safe as ANY EPA certified system. Ask yourself this, if it wasn’t all about the MONEY, then WHY would you have to get EPA certification PRIOR to getting CARB approval, when CARB standards are set HIGHER than EPA standards, the answer is BOTH agencies want their pound of flesh and CA isn’t about to rain on the FED’s parade.
      As long as this corrupt, deliberately cumbersome, system exists in America, mass adoption of CNG will remain impossible, no matter HOW MANY CNG stations we have. It’s not just about the money either, the time to get a system certified is outrageous, we have submitted a system for EPA approval, and three months later, were still waiting.

  2. Paul Doose says:

    Gasoline was great for 100 years of building this country, how can we educate people to use our abundant source of energy for the next 100 years, why is it called natural gas?, its a natural thing,
    come on!, I added a CNG fuel system to 15 year old van that was not being used much due to the cost of fuel, now my quality of life has improved, due to the cost per mile has been cut in half, in northern Illinois gasoline hit $4.25 per gl, so my cost to run my van would be .42 cents per mile,
    when using the high taxed CNG in Crook county @ $2.45 per gge, cost per mile is less than .20 cents per mile,
    when I travel north to Wisconsin, CNG prices can very from $1.50 to $1.80 per gge, and reduces my cost per mile down to around .10 cents a mile, I did not take any short cuts or use any questionable parts, I did study and understand how all of the component are used and proper handling techniques are applied, this is not rocket science, we have had this technology for years, and now the tables have turned on our enemies, (OPEC and Politicians) we can use our own source of energy to power the next 100 years of this country, or be slaves to the politicians that have been put in to there positions to protect our interest’s.
    People need to educate themselves on how simple it is to add a alternate fuel system to there every day mode of transport, And let our farmer use the corn they grow to feed the livestock we eat, how many years did it take for the auto manufactures to start putting Flex fuel on there cars, E85 is still unheard of in my area, and the stations that do carry it costs is $3.50 per gal. let it go, lets convince the masses. CNG is great but we should also consider LNG for the little guy who spends half of his income just to get back and fourth to his job.

  3. Bill Greenjeans says:

    @. Jim Younkin. Thanks for your website and helping people feel that they can be free without big brother looking over their shoulder on everything they do. Certain special interest aren’t interested in people converting to CNG. I have an idea, however what is your idea of why after all these years we are still stalled out on CNG?

  4. Jim,

    I don’t want anyone getting mad at me. I have a Van that came from Chevrolet that is a Bi-fuel, I have a Honda Civic and I had my 2004 diesel duramax converted so it is a Duel fuel. I have 2 fuel makers a Phil and a FMQ2.

    The reason for this post is that I also purchased a fueler from a company called HE System Technologies for $10,600.00. They have never delivered the system and I gave them the money over a year ago. I have asked for it back but t=have not received it. I joined CNGCHAT.com to see it they would help and they banned me.

    I just want people to be aware of these snake oil salesman CNGCHAT.com and HE System Technologies.

    You can contact me at

    Michael McGuire
    PO Box 379
    209 N Elm
    Cresco, IA 52136

    563-380-9292 Ce;;

    Thank you

  5. Thomas says:

    I find it amusing that the vendors selling EPA certified systems like to #1. Lump all non EPA conversion systems together, and #2 infer that EPA certified systems are somehow SAFER or CLEANER than a non EPA conversion system. Let’s get something straight, right from the start, the United States is NOT the leader in CNG technology worldwide, and never has been, there are millions and millions of vehicles on the roads of Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America running on CNG. Some of these systems are far more sophisticated than the average US EPA system, with better software control, full OBD II integration, and when installed by a properly trained installer, following CSA and NFPA 52 guild lines, every bit as safe, clean, and durable as a US EPA certified system. There are less than 120,000 EPA certified systems on the road today in the US, the majority of which are over 15 years old. Adoption of CNG using EPA certified systems, is actually going down, not up, as a percentage of US autos on the road, despite an increase in CNG stations. Clearly the model is NOT working. These people are NOT concerned with converting America’s vehicles in mass, but rather, are working AGAINST the very thing the claim to be for, by showing blind Devotion to a organization, that has greatly exceeded its original charter, in a quest for additional revenue. Ask your self WHY does it cost $80,000 to get certification, why are regulatory fees, the #1 cost, higher than labor or parts, that’s insane, why do EPA certifications come with a limit of how many vehicles can be converted per certificate? Why does CARB insist you get EPA certification first, if they are only going to test to an even higher standard? Answer: it’s all about the money, they have turned clean air into a cottage industry, and boy what a industry.

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