Demand for CNG vehicles up but fuel stns inadequate
Kochi: Increasing fuel price and financial crisis induced by the pandemic have forced people, especially those who depend on vehicles for their livelihood, to look for economically more viable options to lessen their financial burden. It seems, ‘CNG only’ vehicles have come as a blessing in disguise for such people, proof of which is rise in registration of such vehicles in the district, especially within city limits, in the past few months, according to data from motor vehicles department.
Thirty CNG vehicles were registered in Ernakulam RTO limit till first week of November this year, whereas it was just five in 2019. Of the 30, 27 vehicles were registered in the past few months. Aluva, Mattancherry and Tripunithura also witnessed similar trend.
In 2019, no CNG vehicles were registered in Mattancherry and Tripunithura. This year, after lockdown restrictions were relaxed, both these places together witnessed 21 CNG registrations. Most of the vehicles registered were autorickshaws.
Stakeholders say lesser expenditure compared to diesel and petrol could have made people opt for CNG vehicles. Besides, more automobile companies have started launching CNG vehicles in the market.
“Conversion from diesel to CNG is a cumbersome procedure. Moreover, operating CNG vehicles is financially more viable. More CNG and electric vehicles would be introduced in the market in near future as steps have been taken in that direction,” said Ernakulam RTO Babu John.
But shortage of CNG fuelling stations in the district is a cause for concern for many owners. Only seven stations of the Indian oil corporation are functioning in Ernakulam.
However, demand for the fuel has not picked up as movement of people have come down drastically, thanks to Covid-19.
“We used to sell around 6,000kg of CNG fuel per day and most of our customers were auto drivers. Currently, we sell only around 2,000kg per day,” said Satheesh Kumar, supervisor of a fuel station in Cheranelloor.
As on November 10, price of CNG is Rs.56.50 per kg. Whereas the price of diesel and petrol is Rs.74.28 and Rs.81.16 per litre, respectively.
“Compared to diesel and petrol, pollution from CNG is minimal. However, new CNG stations are not expected in future as government’s thrust is on electric mobility,” says M B Symandabhadran, convener of Ernakulam auto drivers’ coordination committee.