How to Convert a Vehicle to Natural Gas

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Convert a vehicle to natural gas to save on gas costs and do you part to help the environment. Natural gas burns cleaner, which means less harmful emissions. Most natural gas vehicles use compressed natural gas (CNG), which can be refueled at home or at special filling stations, but cars can also be converted to use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or propane.

Things You'll Need

  • Certificate of conformity
  • Conversion kit

Instructions

  1. Analyze your car to decide whether it really is worth converting to alternative fuel. You can expect the cost of converting a single gasoline car to natural gas to be high. Because you're shelling out so much money, you want the car to last a decent length of time. You may actually save money by purchasing a new car that already runs on natural gas.

  2. Consult a gas conversion specialist to convert your existing vehicle to natural gas. He should be able to tell you whether your car can be converted properly and will perform the work. You will also be given a cost estimate at that point.

  3. Determine whether your car can handle the added weight of the CNG canisters. The entire conversion can add 200 to 500 lbs., depending on the size and number of tanks.

  4. Follow all EPA standards when converting your car. Make sure your model of vehicle has been approved for conversion with a certificate of conformity.

  5. Install a dual fuel system if you want to convert your car without any major modifications. This allows the car to run on diesel if needed with just a flip of the switch on the dashboard.

  6. Consider where and how you will refuel your car. You should invest in a home refueling device for convenience, which may require special permits to install. Otherwise, find a nearby station that caters to the public.

  7. Buy a conversion kit. The kit includes everything you need to turn a diesel engine into a natural gas vehicle. CNG and LPG kits are not readily available in every area, so you may need to work with a mechanic.

  8. Keep your eye on the future. Natural gas vehicles and stations are paving the way for hydrogen technology. You may want to convert your car so that it runs on both CNG and hydrogen or a combination of the two.

Tips & Warnings

  • Natural gas can also be used to produce hydrogen, which is facilitating the transfer to alternative fuel cell vehicles.

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