No. of CNG cars in Mumbai soars 200% in 4 years
The number of cars plying on CNG (compressed natural gas) in Mumbai region has shot up by over 200% since 2011, according to data released by Mahanagar Gas Ltd. CNG-fitted cars comprise around 30% of the total number of cars.
The metropolitan region has 4.05 lakh cars plying on CNG. While outlets were first set up around 12 years ago, demand for CNG-driven cars gained momentum only in the past four years. The data revealed that 38,700 cars had switched to CNG in 2011-12, while the figure almost doubled to 79,000 the next fiscal year. In 2013-14, the number of cars went up by 1.22 lakh, a record increase in the last one decade, an MGL spokesperson said.
The green fuel is cheaper (Rs 43.45 per kg against Rs 68.86 per litre for petrol), it gives better mileage and reduces harmful exhaust gas emissions.
Rajesh Jayaram, who had installed a CNG kit in his car recently, said, “There were apprehensions of standing in long queues to fill up CNG fuel. But I now find adequate CNG outlets in the city. It was a wise decision to switch to the green fuel.” He advised people to go in for CNG if their cars are being used daily and on long runs.
Jai Shah, a businessman from Mulund, said, “I drive daily from Mulund to Vile Parle for work, and switching to CNG has saved me at least Rs4,000 per month. I am happy that I am not polluting the environment anymore.”
An MGL official said that Mumbai region had more than 170 pumps, with 900 dispensing units. There are plans to increase them by 10-20% annually to cater to increasing demand.
He said, “Those wanting to switch to CNG can get kits retrofitted at RTO-approved outlets. There are 36 outlets, details of which can be accessed at mahanagargas.com.” Retrofitting costs Rs 30,000-50,000 depending on the model. “It is a one-time investment, but you reap the benefits on a long-term basis,” the official said.
Public transport is gradually switching to CNG. BEST has a fleet of 4,200 buses, of which 2,800 have been retrofitted with CNG kits and more may switch over, sources said. The 1.08 lakh autorickshaws and 55,000 taxis and fleet cabs plying in Mumbai operate on CNG.
MGL senior official Neera Asthana said, “CNG has a higher ignition temperature than other fuels, reducing chances of accidental and spontaneous ignition. It is also eco-friendly. Operating a CNG car is 53% and 25% cheaper than petrol and diesel cars respectively.”
MGL is expanding its network to Kalyan, Dombivli, Ambernath, Badlapur, Ulahasnagar, Bhiwandi and Panvel, the sources said.