Natural Gas Conversions Could Cost a Couple Hundred


"CNG conversion costs are only high because of an old EPA licensing requirement."

It costs between $12,500 to $22,500 to convert a gasoline-powered car to natural gas in an autoshop. That old gas hog can't be greened up now; but it could be.

Natural gas conversions don't have to cost that much. The true cost is only a few hundred dollars in parts and labor. The reason for this incredible difference is exceedingly interesting, as Robert Rapier notes in a well-researched piece over at The Oil Drum on the feasibility of switching from Gasoline to Natural Gas.

Embedded in Rapier's reasoning is the simple way to solve it. Then converting cars to Natural Gas could cost what it actually costs; just a few hundred dollars—an hour's work; a few parts.

The VP of The Auto Channel claims this cost is unnecessary. CNG conversion costs are only high because of an old EPA licensing requirement, says Marc Raush:

"For an individual (or shop) to be licensed to do a conversion, the person must pay $10,000 per year, per engine type, per year of manufacture. So that if a conversion shop wanted to do conversions in 2009 for Camrys for the years 1995 to 2005, the shop owner would have to pay the government $100,000 in licensing fees."

"Therefore, if a shop owner wanted to do 10 model years of Camrys, Corollas and Celicas, as well as Honda Accords and Civics, unless there were common engines being used in these five models the licensing cost (for just one engine per) would be a half million dollars, which would have to be paid again in 2010."

Licensing fees of a few million dollars every year would certainly dissuade most shops from going into the conversion business!

But how many trained auto mechanics were there when we switched from horses to horsepower? Nada. But, the demand for them created them in due time.

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