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Old 12-09-2011, 05:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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overview of CNG options?

Hello, i'm new to ecomodder, and am planning to explore options ranging from the mild to the wild, but I keep coming back to one major issue that I either need to choose yes, or rule out as a definate no before I get much further - CNG fueling.

Could someone that knows more than me (splotchy and sporadic) who has done some research share their insights?

Some examples of what I know or have been told so far and some facts of the case:
- the only factory vehicle i've heard of is a Honda GX, there are various approved kits for other vehicles but most are for mid size sedans or light trucks it seems and all of them cost ALOT
- I can't find a clear answer on whether a homebrew CNG kit is legal or not, whether it's state issues or federal laws that apply. Minnesota doesn't have emissions testing that I know of but you cant arbitrarily remove parts is all I know for sure. I would much rather convert my Saturn SL if I could and the price were about the same.
- values of used vehicles I can't find any concrete information on, whether higher or lower than gasoline versions. New they cost alot more. Other than used CNG busses (which are FAR cheaper apparently) I don't know about the demand and prices of sedans. Usually i've only seen pickups and such for sale used for fleet vehicles.
- I would be looking at either used CNG vehicles or some home conversion
- I would strongly strongly prefer a bi-fuel vehicle (option to use gasoline) so I can use it for long trips without being stranded.
- the largest expense is probably the home refueling station at $6000-8000 installed (which there seems to be no way around even if you did a homebrew CNG conversion or something) but some said the refuelers were unreliable, and for a year or two they were completely off the market. I can't tell if there is any (legal) competition for them even, so this part is very confusing to me.
- if the home refueler plus CNG conversion costs over $10,000 there's no possible way I can swing it A refueler plus vehicle could cost a little more since I could sell what i'm driving for a couple thou I hope.
- where I am (minnesota) the home refueling would probably be required, because there is only one refueling station in minneapolis, and it costs as much as gasoline completely destroying the point unless I need a fast refuel.

Since CNG alters which vehicle i'd consider doing other modifications on (aeromodding and the rest) this is the first thing i'm looking at to decide.

I expect at least 50mi daily commuting mostly in the big city, and that's the mileage I most want to improve, but speeds range from 30-70mph on the highways for those commutes. Regular out of town (about 120-150mi round trip est, perhaps every week but at least once a month) will be needed as well. This will be the car i'm going to college to (5-7 years through masters level courses or so) and i'm looking at CNG hoping my total cost over those years will be substantially less than if I had simply stuck with gasoline. If it does not save SUBSTANTIAL money in this time frame it's obviously a dead end. I expect gas to be $4.50-5/gallon within a year and stay there minimum without dropping for the duration of college based on advice from friends in the oil industry.

I'd considered a homebrew EV conversion but i'm hearing about electricity prices expecting to double within the next two years or so due to the shutdowns of coal plants and such, sort of killing alot of the benefit IMHO, although that's the next option i'll explore if CNG looks like it wont work.

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Old 01-17-2012, 12:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There are limited CNG stations, it takes space in your gas tank, if it explodes..., someone said they're noisy. I would get the honda
Other countries support CNG more.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The Home refueling stations are too expensive to realize any benefit IMHO. you would have to drive an insane amount in order for it to acutally cover any cost. If there was a supply of CNG locally that you could use then i'd say look into retrofitting your car because there are some awesome kits available and if you have any technical skills you can do it your self. If not then try to find the most economical gas guzler you can. Best of luck and hope something works out for you.
CNG Conversion Kits Info

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cng home refueling, honda gx, phill

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