How to Convert Your Car to Run on Natural Gas
A good way to save on gas costs is to convert your vehicle to natural gas. Not only will this keep money in your pocket, but it will also be beneficial to the environment where you live, as natural gas will burn cleaner than regular gas, giving your vehicle less harmful emissions.
Though most cars that have been converted to natural gas run off of CNG (compressed natural gas), you can change you engine to run off of propane or liquefied natural gas (LPG). Compressed natural gas can usually be refilled at home for your convenience.
Step 1: Do the Math
Because converting a vehicle to natural gas can be very expensive, you should do the math and decide if it is worth the added expense for your current vehicle. If you have an older car or a vehicle that has a lot of problems, putting a lot of extra money into your car may not be the wisest choice, as you may not be able to benefit from the experience for more than a couple of years.
To figure out what the costs are, you should contact a gas conversion specialist. This specialist should be able to tell you a rough estimate of what it would cost both for him to do the work (more expensive) and for you to do the work (a little cheaper). He may also be able to tell you if your vehicle is a good candidate for the conversion or if it can even be converted.
It may, in the end, be cheaper (and easier) in the long run to trade your vehicle in for a car that has already been built to run on alternative gas.
Step 2: Follow EPA Standards
It is important for you to follow all EPA and other government issued standards when you convert your vehicle. Check to make sure your particular model has been approved for the conversion if the specialist was unable to do so. Go the extra step to get a certificate of conformity. This may seem like a hassle, but it is for your own safety.
You will also need to find out if your vehicle is durable enough to handle the extra weight of the CNG tanks. These tanks are very heavy and can weigh up to 500 pounds. If you do not take this step, your vehicle may not work as properly as it should.
Step 3: Find Out Where You Can Fill Your Car
Make sure that there is an alternative fueling station in your area or consider investing in your own refueling system at home for convenience. You will need to find out from your city if you need any special permits to install a system. Make sure you find a way to fuel your vehicle before making the switch.
If you are nervous about going to a location where there is no way of getting alternative fuel, you can install a dual fuel system. Not only will this allow you to convert your vehicle without any major modifications, it will allow you to switch back and forth between regular and alternative fuel easily.
Step 4: Purchase a Conversion Kit
Purchase a conversion kit for your car. Kits will come with everything you need to convert your vehicle to natural gas. Step by step directions will be included that will fit your specific make and model of vehicle so that there is no confusion on how to convert it.
Though kits are not available in all areas yet, their popularity is growing. Make sure you have all your needs covered before making the change.