With several OEMs gearing up for the launch of CNG cars, it seems as if CNG is becoming the preferred fuel type for automakers as well as consumers despite a strong EV wave. But what makes CNG so special, especially in these times? Let’s see.
The CNG Preference Saga
Over the last year, the price of Compressed Natural Gas as per data from Indraprastha Gas Limited, CNG prices in Delhi (Where the fuel is considered to be the most affordable in India) have jumped by almost 51%. From November 14, 2021, when the fuel sold for about 52.04 per kg, the prices went up to 78.61 per kg on October 8, 2022. Despite such a massive jump, CNG still remains dear to major OEMs across the nation.
Also, Read Petrol vs. Diesel vs. CNG | Best Fuel To Buy In 2022
The Diesel and Petrol Connection
While CNG prices jumped, Diesel prices were reduced from Rs 98.44 per litre on November 1, 2021, to Rs 89.62 per litre as on November 10, 2022. For petrol, prices went from Rs 110.08 per litre (on November 2, 2021) to Rs 96.72 per litre now.
So to conclude, compressed natural gas prices over the years have reached the point where it is near to what Diesel is, yet cheaper. But despite the reducing gap, CNG poses several advantages over diesel, and to an extent over petrol as well, when it comes to total ownership of a vehicle, be it commercial or personal.
And while the jump in CNG prices has reduced the sale of CNG cars by about 10-15% the biggest advantage that CNG holds over Diesel as well as petrol is its impeccable fuel efficiency and quick recovery factor that lets a user regain the premium spent to bring home a car powered by CNG.
For example, the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga in its CNG trim is about Rs 95,000 costlier than its petrol counterpart. But in terms of fuel efficiency, the CNG trim offers 26.11 km/kg while petrol offers 20.51 km/litre.
This means that the overall running cost of the CNG trim comes out at Rs 3 per km as compared to Rs 5 per kilometre for petrol. Thus, as per the calculation devised by Maruti Suzuki, if your daily run is about 50 km per day, within three years you can recover the 95,000 premium spent to purchase the CNG trim.
Thus, more running more savings, and this is what drives the compressed natural gas wave forward. Similar calculations also work when it comes to diesel, which is the primary competitor of CNG, especially in Commercial Vehicles. But since Commercial Vehicles are known to run much more, operates save lakhs of rupees when they opt for fuel like CNG.
Checkout:8 Cars That Can Shine With CNG | The Green Advantage
The Tax Advantage and Engine Life
Another thing that works in favour of CNG cars is the fact that in cities such as Delhi, Diesel cars need to pay as much as 25% extra in the form of road tax over non-diesel cars. Furthermore, in cities like Delhi, where CNG is abundantly available, CNG owners enjoy the benefit of savings without much hassle. Despite the increasing price of CNG, CNG stations across the nation are expected to grow about 3X in the decade.
Another thing that works for compressed natural gas is longer engine life. While the components such as fuel lines and cylinders need proactive maintenance, CNG is overall beneficial for the engine. According to data, CNG has very little carbon content and thereby it does not contaminate the crankcase oil, giving the engine a new life. Moreover, the absence of any lead content in CNG helps in avoiding lead fouling of plugs as well. Additionally, since CNG enters the engine in gaseous form, no carbon is generated in the process of combustion, reducing the chances of extreme wear and tear.
Also Read: 9 Most Fuel-Efficient Best Mileage CNG Cars In 2021
The Bottom Line
While compressed natural gas has its own set of disadvantages such as reduction in boot space, reduction in power etc. considering that the Indian market is focused towards maximum savings, fuel efficiency and cost-effectiveness, CNG seems to be the most preferred option.
So this was all about why automakers prefer CNG these days. Stay pinned to the GoMechanic blog for everything automotive.