How to Change a Car to Run on Natural Gas

Changing a car from gasoline to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) can be a good investment for both your pocket book and the environment. Whether or not this is a good idea for your car depends on many factors such as the make and year of your car, available tax credits, and the number of CNG fuel centers in your region. Federal and state laws covering the emission control systems of automobiles are very strict. It is illegal for car owners to convert an automobile to natural gas themselves. Only mechanics approved by the EPA can install these kits.

Instructions

    • 1

      Choose between a full conversion to natural gas, or a hybrid (bi-fuel) conversion kit that will let your car run on either natural gas or gasoline. Research is a must. Important factors in this decision include the number of CNG fueling stations available in your region, and whether or not you plan to make any cross-country trips, where they may not be any CNG fueling stations at all.

    • 2

      Identify an EPA-approved conversion kit for your car and an estimate in the price for the kit. The price may be as low as $2,000.

    • 3

      Locate an EPA-approved mechanic who can install the kit into your car and get an estimate for the installation. You can do this by searching locally, or by asking the manufacturer of the kit for a list of mechanics in your area authorized to use their kits. The cost of installation can also be as low as $2,000.

    • 4

      Determine if you will be eligible for any federal or state tax credits for converting your car, including tax credits under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which may offset most of the cost of conversion.

    • 5

      Calculate the long-term savings, or long-term expense, of conversion. First, estimate the number of years you plan on keeping your car and multiply this by the money you would expect to spend on CNG fuel annually. Add to this number the cost (after tax credits) of converting your car. From this total, subtract the amount you would likely spend on gasoline over the same number of years. Fuel prices fluctuate, so keep in mind that the number you estimate today will unlikely be precise.

    • 6

      Purchase the CNG conversion kit suitable for your car and take it to the EPA-approved mechanic for installation.

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References

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