Why every car owner should consider CNG conversion

In light of the recent increase in petrol prices, switching to compressed natural gas cannot only help car owners save money but also contribute to a more sustainable environment. This is particularly relevant as the world continues to face the challenges of climate change, DARE OLAWIN writes

After the removal of the petrol subsidy by President Bola Tinubu on his assumption of office in May last year, many Nigerians decided to park their vehicles and resorted to public transport. This was because the pump price of petrol surged from below N200 per litre to N600.

Aside from this, the current inflationary pressure that has reduced the purchasing powers of individuals compounded the challenges, leaving many with no other option than to forget about their cars for now.

Many are faced with the struggle to put food on their tables and take care of other necessities. In most homes, this is more important than fuelling cars.

When President Tinubu removed the fuel subsidy, he considered gas to be an alternative fuel. The Federal Government has adopted gas as the nation’s transition fuel amid calls for a shift from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy.

The President has since put different initiatives in place to make gas available to all Nigerians.

The Project Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative, Michael Oluwagbemi, recently revealed that the Federal Government was planning to build a gas-powered economy.

The project director noted that given the characteristics of CNG and its benefits as a cheaper fuel, the strategic vision guiding the initiative was to alleviate the cost of living for Nigerians by significantly reducing the cost of transportation, and ultimately improve the standard of living with a cleaner and safer fuel.

“In all of these, our strategic objectives are very clear: How do we reduce the cost of transportation for the common man? How do we make Nigeria’s gas work for him or her? How do we ensure that this gas working for Nigeria gives Nigeria an economic advantage? “We’re not just focusing on conversion centres but also incentivising investment on the supply side, taking an end-to-end approach,” Oluwagbemi remarked.

To achieve the gas transition objective, the Federal Government, through the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, directed Nigeria Customs Service to immediately apply a zero per cent duty on CNG, LPG, CNG equipment components, conversion and installation services, LPG equipment components, conversion and installation services, and all equipment and infrastructure related to the expansion of LPG and the Presidential CNG Initiative, including conversion kits.

Edun also directed that no Value Added Tax be paid on the CNG components and conversion kits.

The aim was to ensure conversion kits and other components needed for CNG are imported without too heavy costs to make vehicle conversion a bit cheaper. Despite all the initiatives of the government, Nigerians seem not to be confused about the need to convert their gasoline vehicles to CNG-powered ones.

Comments from Nigerians dwelt more on the cost of conversion, which experts said was around N500,000 for a Toyota Corolla car.

However, it has been said that the cost of buying petrol would be more than the cost spent on conversion and gas refilling in a year.

The Chief Executive Officer of Operation at Zeta Power Limited, Kyriakos Schizas, stated that though some may consider N600,000 as too much for the conversion of a car, the owner of the car would save over N1m in one year by using CNG.

This means the owner would have about N400,000 left after removing the cost of conversion. In the following years, the owner of the vehicle would save N1m annually using CNG.

This is a lot of money that could be used to take care of other expenses.

In a family where the father, mother and children have separate cars, one could imagine how much the family would reduce in fueling their cars.

Today, businesses, including marketers of petroleum products are converting their diesel trucks to CNG. The main reason for this is to cut costs.

The Zeta Power boss advised businesses and vehicle owners or drivers to reduce their daily running costs with the use of CNG.

He said companies would save over 50 per cent of their current cost of generating energy if they converted their engines and vehicles to CNG.

Schizas claimed that Nigeria could “save N10tn in a year if all the vehicles in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt run on CNG”. If N10tn could be saved in just three cities, how much will the country save if the entire nation runs on CNG?

There have been safety concerns and how healthy CNG could be for a vehicle originally designed for gasoline. Many are afraid that there might be gas explosions.

But Schizas allayed the fear of possible explosion, stressing that the CNG cylinder is thick enough to withstand the pressure of what it contains.

He added, “Gas will not contaminate engine oil and that will give the engine good lubrication.”

Prolonging car life

The mechanical engineer disclosed that the use of CNG would extend the life of the engine with very low carbon because gas is a cleaner fuel compared to petrol. CNG burns cleaner than petrol, which can result in less engine wear and potentially longer engine life.

He stated that the conversion enables bi-fuel. That is, converting your petrol car to a bi-fuel system, which can run on both petrol and CNG, offers versatility and flexibility.

With a bi-fuel system, you have the option to switch between petrol and CNG based on availability, cost, or personal preference, providing you with more control over your fuel expenses and environmental impact.

Conversion does not stop the car from being run on petrol. It only gives two options.

Similarly, CNG produces fewer emissions compared to petrol, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

Apart from the cost of conversion and other concerns, one major hindrance to the adoption of CNG in the country’s transport sector is the scarcity of CNG stations.

Nigerians are not encouraged to have their vehicles converted due to the non-availability of the refilling points. But the government said that was being addressed in collaboration with some private companies.


NIPCO Gas recently announced the completion of four CNG stations in Lagos, saying the facilities would be opened for commercial operations by the end of April.

 The Managing Director of NIPCO Gas, Nagendra Verma, said NIPCO Gas partnered with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to expand the AutoCNG infrastructure nationwide.

He noted that NIPCO Gas had 15 AutoCNG stations across Nigeria, stretching from Benin City to Ibafo in Ogun State and Kogi State.

Verma stated that with the partnership, the AutoCNG network was set to expand to reach key locations, such as Abuja, Ibadan in Oyo State, and Oron in Akwa Ibom State.

According to the MD, NIPCO has slashed the price of CNG. He disclosed that for cars, taxis and tricylces, autoCNG is now being sold at N200 per standard cubic metre, against the petrol price of NGN610 per litre, in Lagos; and NGN230/scm against the PMS price of N670/litre in Abuja.

He further stated that for heavy commercial vehicles; autoCNG was N260/scm against the diesel price of over N1,000/litre in Lagos; and N290/scm in Abuja.

 Members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria recently told The PUNCH that they were in talks with the Federal Government to commence the sale of compressed natural gas in their filling stations.

 “Most of our members are into LPG already. You see scales in their stations for the sale of domestic gas.

“Now, we are looking at CNG. We are talking with the government; we want to partner with the government on that. It is very easy for us. We already have the facility; we have the filling stations. It is just to add up, and then we are good to go.




“And if we have CNG, it is an alternative to petrol and diesel. It will be cheaper, and people will have an option. That is why we said let’s go for CNG,” said IPMAN National Vice President, Ahmed Fashola.

What this indicates is that, sooner than later, CNG would be available in major locations across the nation. So, the time to convert is now.

 The government only needs to incentivise investments in CNG, while encouraging conversion of cars through government interventions.



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