KOCHI: Green is becoming the mantra everywhere. With people identifying the harmful effects of burning fossil fuels besides the alarming manner in which petrol and diesel stocks are going down, greener fuels like compressed natural gas or CNG, as it is commonly known, is gaining more and more users. While many autorickshaws in the city have migrated to CNG, other vehicles like cars are moving at a cautious pace when it comes to adopting the green option. However, making a difference is the online cab services which have begun the process of migrating to CNG.
According to Biju, an Uber driver partner, even though the company wants and promotes migration to CNG, many drivers are hesitant due to the high cost they will have to incur in order to convert their vehicles. "As of now, the company is showing preference in attaching CNG vehicles. Mine is a converted vehicle. Even though running on CNG is profitable, but the vehicles don't get the mileage equivalent to petrol. It is 20 per cent lesser than a petrol vehicle," he said.
"Besides, the cost of fixing a CNG kit in the vehicle is a big strain on the pockets of the drivers who buy the cars by taking bank loans," said Jose another driver. "There a difference of Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 when it comes to getting the kit from the car company and buying it from outside. The only benefit is that while the company gives a warranty for the kit, the same doesn't apply when it is bought from outside," he said. According to him, around 100 or more cars driving for Uber are running on CNG.
Biju said, "It is viable to convert only petrol vehicles since the process is a tricky and costly affair in the case of diesel vehicles. Another problem which those driving CNG vehicles face the lack of an adequate number of gas stations. As of now, the city has only four and are located in far places. So, if a driver is inside the city he will have to drive to the extremes like Vyttila and Kalamassery to fill the tank." So, burning gas just to fill the tank doesn't seem profitable, he added. "If more gas stations come up then it will be good not only for the drivers but also for the environment since more and more people will migrate to greener fuel," said Jose.
Meanwhile, Uber spokesperson said, "At Uber, we promote the adoption of cleaner fuels like CNG. CNG presents an affordable and environment-friendly alternative to other available fuel options,We are committed to engaging with governments and other stakeholders across cities we operate in to find ways to contribute towards solving pollution and congestion problems."