KOCHI: With fuel prices inching towards the centum mark and the state and central governments shifting blame for further tax cuts, the layman are left scrambling for alternatives to bring down daily transportation cost. Kochi, where four CNG stations have already started functioning, is showing a surge in demand for CNG conversion kits for petrol cars, both private and taxis.
Providing accessibility to increasing CNG users, Indian Oil Corporation, in its push for a greener tomorrow, will be opening 20 more outlets in the city. “We have already submitted the request to the district collector for the required permits. Once it comes through, we can procure the necessary equipment and make it functional in a two-month time frame,” said P S Mony, chief general manager, IOC.
“The number of enquiries and orders for CNG installations have definitely doubled in the past few weeks. With a kilogram of CNG still retailing at around Rs 50 and the conversion making the vehicles 25-30 per cent fuel efficient, it makes economic sense for high-mileage cars to switch to CNG,” said D Ayyapan, managing director, Surbhi Gas Track, Kalamaserry.
The conversion kits (open-loop) cost Rs 35,000 for older BS-III and Rs 50,000-55,000 for BS-IV cars, which is a more advanced sequential-injection kit from Italian brands like BRC and Lovato. At current prices, a 1200 cc car that runs an average of 15,000 kilometres on CNG would have already covered up the installation cost. “The notion of CNG being bad for engines is also an unfounded allegation. With periodic maintenance, the engine runs as smooth as with any other fossil fuel,” said Ayyapan.
“Driving our Maruti WagonR, we are incurring a running cost of Rs 5.5 per kilometre and counting. It’s just not viable to take out the car anymore. We are planning to install CNG which will bring down the cost to Rs 2.5 per kilometre,” said Rajan Pulikottil, a resident of Edapally.
When cities like Delhi has forcefully and successfully transitioned to CNG , there’s huge possibility that a city like Kochi will soon voluntarily jump the bandwagon for economic reasons alone.