Chennai will get more compressed natural gas outlets by end of the years cylinders
The fuel, which is cheaper than both petrol and diesel, is currently being sold at 26 pumps recently inaugurated by the Chief Minister
By the end of this year, the city is likely to have 100 fuel outlets that will be vending compressed natural gas (CNG). The latest fuel to be available in Tamil Nadu is expected to be a game changer primarily because it is half the current price of petrol and diesel, since it is sold at 5% VAT per kg.
In the city, it costs ₹51.35 a kg, which is the second lowest in the country after Delhi. For industrial uses, it is priced at ₹48 per kg.
Recently, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin inaugurated 26 pumps in and around the city, and in anticipation of these and other pumps to be opened in the State, several vehicle manufacturers have brought out company-manufactured CNG variants in the market. Maruti Suzuki has six passenger vehicles in CNG, four in the fleet segment and one in the commercial segment.
A company source said conversion kits were not permitted, according to an order of the Supreme Court. “And in India, certified conversion kits are not available in the petrol vehicle segment. From the point of safety, what is preferable is to get a vehicle that is fitted from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) from the factory,” he explained.
“We expect the CNG market to do extremely well in Chennai since a lot of customers are showing considerable interest in the CNG variant,” he added.
In other markets like Mumbai, Pune and Gujarat, large conversions have already happened in the call taxi fleet segment. Taxi owners are opting for the CNG variant. “It is a more affordable fuel since there is no cess attached to it like petrol or diesel. The price is controlled under the Administered Price Mechanism and Torrent Gas, which supplies CNG to the city, said it would ensure that the price was retained at this level till December this year,” an oil industry expert explained.
Besides being cleaner, since it has no lead, it has better mileage when compared to fuels being sold at present. “If it is a new vehicle, it will give at least 10-12 km or more per kilo than petrol and in the long run, it will still remain at some 7-9 km more than petrol. CNG is more suitable for cars that are driven inside cities like call taxis. For vehicles that travel for 700-800 km, liquefied natural gas is more suitable since it can be stored at minus 160 degree Celsius and will take lesser space,” an industry insider explained.
Latha Krishnan, a resident of Perambur, began reading up on CNG while checking for fuel prices recently. She said with the governments using fuel as a revenue generating mechanism, LPG and CNG looked tempting. “The CNG option seems more tempting since it is cleaner. Since many of us cannot afford to buy new vehicles, the government should bring out a list of approved conversion kit vendors,” she added.
Sources in oil companies said in Salem and Namakkal, where compressed biogas obtained from chicken waste is available, some 200 vehicles had converted to the cleaner fuel. Similarly, in Ramanathapuram and even in Tiruvallur, several vehicles had converted to CNG.
- Parandhaman of SMR Bus Services in Rasipuram, Namakkal, who has converted one of his buses to CNG on a trial basis, said he was willing to convert his entire fleet to CNG.
“We are waiting for the government to permit the conversion of heavy vehicles,” he said.