How much more does it cost to purchase a Compressed Natural Gas car?
Light-duty vehicles (such as the Honda Civic) generally cost $5,000 to $10,000 more than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Those “incremental” costs can be offset by State and Federal incentives and by the fuel savings. At the end of 2010 Congress allowed the Federal vehicle tax credits, which covered up to 80% of the incremental costs, to expire and they are currently not available. There is an effort underway to reinstate those credits in 2011.
The Honda GX, for example, costs about $5,700 more than a standard Honda Civic. It previously qualified for a Federal Tax Credit of $4,000, so the incremental cost was about $1,700. Other light and medium-duty vehicle conversions can cost $10,000 to $15,000. Several states also offer additional incentives such as rebates or tax credits (Nebraska & Iowa currently do not). The District does offering a $500 CNG vehicle rebate for individuals and will consider project incentives for other fleets considering CNG vehicles on a case by case basis.
Where can I get a CNG vehicle?
O’Daniel Honda at 78th & Dodge currently stocks the Civic GX model which runs on CNG. Other available vehicles, including light, medium and heavy duty, are listed at:
http://www.ngvamerica.org/pdfs/marketplace/MP.Analyses.NGVs-a.pdf. Happy Cab Company of Omaha is a certified converter for Natural Drive conversion systems which include several GM models such as the Impala, Silverado, Tahoe and Suburban. Fuel Conversion Solutions also provides CNG conversions in the Omaha area. CNG Chevy Express vans can be ordered directly from dealers with a full manufacturer’s warranty.
Atchley Ford and Baxter Ford in Omaha can provide BAF conversion systems on new Ford vehicles which include several models such as the F-Series trucks, E-Series vans and the Transit Connect. The MUD Marketing Department (402-504-7185) can provide details on other available vehicles and is working with local car dealers to establish additional local sources.
How long does it take to fuel a vehicle?
Typical “fast-fill” fuel stations, the kind used at public and large private stations, take about the same time as filling a gasoline vehicle, 3-5 minutes. Many of the fuel stations owned by individuals and smaller private fleets operate on a “time-fill” basis that varies according to the owner’s needs but can take several hours to fill a vehicle or fleet of vehicles, usually overnight. The PHILL home fueling unit typically fuels at a rate of just under ½ gallon per hour which works well for overnight fueling.
How is CNG measured and priced?
Compressed Natural Gas is sold in GGEs or gasoline gallon equivalents. A GGE has the same energy content (124,800 BTUs) as a gallon of gasoline. CNG is generally 15-40% less than gasoline or diesel. The District’s CNG rates are set on a monthly basis and are posted at www.livegreenthinkblue.com. The District’s rate for July 2011at the public station is $1.93 per GGE. The July 2011 rate for private fueling with compression done by the customer is $1.23 per GGE. These rates include all State and Federal road taxes.
How many miles do you get to the gallon?
Because a GGE of natural gas has the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline CNG cars get basically the same miles per GGE as gasoline-powered cars get per gallon. The Honda GX gets 24 City, 36 Highway and 28 Combined miles per GGE which is the same mileage as the standard gasoline-powered Honda Civic.
How far can you travel on a tank of gas?
The Civic GX has a standard 8.0 GGE fuel tank which gives it a range of 200-250 miles. Like other CNG vehicles, additional or larger tanks can be used to increase the range. The Chevy Express van with the extra tank option has a range of up to 350 miles. Bi-fuel CNG vehicles that can switch to gasoline have a virtually unlimited range because of their ability to switch to gasoline when CNG is unavailable. CNG tanks are expensive and take up vehicle space, so increased range does come with a trade-off.
Are there other states that have public fill stations?
There are over 1,100 CNG fueling stations nationwide and more than half are available for public use. A complete list and map is available at: http://www.afdc.energy.gov.afdc/fuels/natural_gas.html. Iowa does not currently have any public access stations. Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming do. There are also well developed networks of public CNG stations in Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, and California as well as on the East Coast.
How much does it cost to purchase a time fill for your garage?
The home fueling appliance, “PHILL”, is manufactured by FuelMaker Corporation (now Fuel Systems Solutions). It is available locally through A-1 United Heating and Air. Actual total cost will depend on the specific installation costs but can range from $6,000 to $8,000. A Federal Tax Credit of $1,000 is available to help offset this cost.
How long does it take to time fill with a PHILL?
On average it will take approximately 4 hours to replenish the fuel consumed in 50 miles of driving (a normal daily commute) based on a vehicle consumption rate of 30 mpg. A completely empty tank in the Honda GX could take up to 18 hours to completely fill with a home fueling option
How does using a natural gas vehicle reduce my carbon footprint?
Exhaust emissions from a typical NGV are much lower than those from gasoline-powered vehicles. For example, the natural gas-powered Honda Civic GX is recognized by the U.S. EPA as the cleanest commercially available, internal-combustion vehicle on earth. The Civic GX is rated by the California Air Resources Board as meeting the very stringent AT-PZEV standard. In addition, dedicated NGVs produce little or no evaporative emissions during fueling and use. In gasoline vehicles, evaporative and fueling emissions account for at least 50 percent of a vehicle's total hydrocarbon emissions.
Typical dedicated NGVs can reduce exhaust emissions of:
- Carbon monoxide (CO) by 70 percent
- Non-methane organic gas (NMOG) by 87 percent
- Nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 87 percent
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) by almost 20 percent below those of gasoline vehicles.
Natural gas vehicles also produce far less urban emissions than diesel vehicles. For example, even when the stringent 2007 EPA heavy-duty engine emission standards become applicable, NGVs will be producing only one-sixth the NOx of comparable diesel engines.
How many natural gas vehicles are there in Omaha?
The District currently has 90 CNG vehicles in it’s fleet including service vans, crew trucks and Honda Civic GX’s. O’Daniel Honda recently became certified as a Honda GX dealer and has already sold several CNG Civics to residential customers and to the District. Several local businesses and government agencies are currently planning to add CNG vehicles to their fleets including Happy Cab which is converting 50 cabs and Metropolitan Community College which deployed a CNG service van in September 2010 and is adding two police vehicles in 2011. There are over 12 million natural gas vehicles worldwide but only about 150,000 in the United States. Both of those totals are growing rapidly.
What is the difference between Dedicated and Bi-fuel natural gas
Dedicated vehicles are designed to run strictly on natural gas. Dedicated Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) vehicles are built from the manufacturer to run only on natural gas while dedicated conversion vehicles have the gasoline or diesel fuel system removed or de-activated. Bi-fuel vehicles can run on either natural gas or gasoline. Dedicated vehicles generally run slightly more efficiently when running on natural gas than do bi-fuel vehicles because the engines are adjusted to run solely on natural gas.
Dedicated vehicles are limited by the range of the particular vehicle and work well for local fleets that return to a fueling site regularly or commuter vehicles that do not require an extended range. Bi-fuel vehicles work well for vehicles that occasionally need to travel beyond the range of fueling stations.
Conversion costs for dedicated or bi-fuel vehicles are typically about the same. However, bi-fuel vehicles did not qualify for the previously available Federal tax credits. There is pending legislation before Congress that could reinstate those incentives and possibly extend them to bi-fuel vehicles as well. Details of the currently available vehicle incentives are at: http://www.ngvamerica.org/incentives/federalTax.html.
What car companies are making CNG vehicles?
Over 25 different manufacturers produce 100 models of light, medium and heavy-duty natural gas vehicles and engines in the U.S. American Honda makes the Civic GX which is the only Dedicated CNG passenger vehicle available from an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). However, more high-quality, EPA certified conversion models are being introduced recently such as the CNG Chevy Impala from NaturalDrive and the CNG Ford Focus and Fusion from Altech-Echo which come in both a Dedicated CNG and a Bi-fuel (CNG or Gasoline) model and are available through selected Ford dealerships.
GM now offers the CNG Express and Savanna vans directly from dealers and Ford now offers “CNG Prep” versions of several models so they can be easily converted.
See also the NGVAmerica list in question #2. EPA certified conversions are available for most full-size Ford, Chevy and GMC pickups and vans as well as the Ford Crown Victoria and Expedition and the Lincoln Town Car and Navigator. There’s even a CNG Hummer available.
Can you convert an existing vehicle to natural gas? If so, how much does it cost?
While after market conversions are being done by a variety of companies in some states and other countries, the District strongly recommends using only the EPA certified conversions listed on the NGVAmerica list. This is the best way to insure that the components and installation meet all safety standards.
These conversions tend to be more expensive than non-EPA certified conversions (around $6,000 to $10,000 for a passenger vehicle, more for medium and heavy duty vehicles) but only EPA certified conversions qualified for the federal incentives which ranged from $2,500 to $32,000 depending on the size of the vehicle. If/when those incentives are reinstated it is expected that they will continue to apply only to EPA certified conversions.
Is there a public place in Omaha where you can fill your car?
The I-80 Fuel station at 5318 “L” Street is now open to the public! A second public station near 64th Avenue & Center will be open in July 2011. The District is working with other fueling retailers to establish additional public stations in our area. There are over 1,100 CNG stations nationwide.
Private fueling equipment for commercial and residential vehicles is available locally from A-1 United Heating & Air.