How soaring prices of petrol and diesel are fuelling switch to CNG
3,000 Vehicles Turning To Cleaner Fuel Every Month Runaway petrol and diesel prices may be pinching consumers hard but they are also offering a silver lining by prompting more and more vehicle owners to switch to clean-burning CNG in Delhi and suburbs. The rate of conversion has doubled from 1,500 a month to 3,000 per month over the last one year, practically tracing the upward curve of petrol and diesel prices. With CNG becoming economically more attractive due to the combined effect of high diesel price and green tax to enter Delhi, even LCVs (light commercial vehicles) and trucks regarded as key contributors of vehicular pollution in the capital — are also switching lanes. Data from IGL, Delhi’s sole supplier of CNG, shows conversions doubling to 3,000 a month in the first quarter of the current fiscal from 1,500 in the year-ago period. The fleet of 1.5 lakh CNG LCVs has also expanded by 2,500, while currently 250 trucks are running on CNG. This is getting reflected in daily sales, which have risen nearly 15% from 27 lakh kg to over 31 lakh kg. Combined with a rush of vehicles from UP and Haryana as CNG is substantially cheaper in Delhi due to lower tax, the additional demand is leading to long queues of vehicles at filling stations in some Delhi areas. CNG offers 60% savings against petrol at the current level of prices and 40% against diesel. “We are expanding our network and have readied some innovative steps to mitigate the situation, especially overcoming paucity of land,” IGL MD E S Ranganath told TOI. IGL has added 30 stations last year to take the total to 452 covering Delhi, Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Rewari. “This year we will add at least 60 more,” he said. IGL has also taken the franchise route where suitable landowners are being given dealership on commission. Two such stations are in operation and LOIs have been issued for 21 more for starting this year. Cabs from aggregators are also contributing to long queues at stations around the airport, railway and bus stations. These cabs use the queues in these areas to beat no-parking/waiting rules between bookings, usually at intervals of 15-20 minutes. There are technical barriers as well. PESO (Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organisation) has capped pressure at 200 Bars/Kg and not allowing automatic card payment systems, which contributes to slow turnaround of vehicles. “Our system is rated at 250 Bars. A relaxation of even 10 Bars will improve filling rate. We have requested the sectoral regulator PNGRB and PESO for a review,” Ranganath said.