Where is the quality of the air that we breathe going to end up with car owners in Delhi caring more for price and convenience than contribution to cleaner and greener air? Car owners in Delhi are slowly but surely shifting over from CNG to diesel. This is bad for customers and worse for the air that they will be breathing in the future. Dealers have reported a drastic drop in sale of CNG kits for private vehicles specially since the start of this year. In fact many car owners who have fitted CNG kits are now getting them removed to go back to use of diesel in their vehicles.
There are a number of reasons for this – firstly it is the shortage of CNG refills. Serpentine queues are seen outside petrol pumps with vehicles waiting for a CNG fill up. This wastes time and in cases of fleet cars and commercial vehicles – a waste of money. Secondly there is the price factor. CVNG prices have sky rocketed in the past two years and customers have found it more economical to shift back to diesel for their vehicles. Thirdly, it is the availability of poor quality Chinese CNG kits which leads to increased costs in the long run besides the rising cost of the kit in the first place primarily due to a depreciating rupee.
Studies show that in 2011 over 3 lakh diesel private cars were registered in Delhi while only 2000 CNG cars were registered. Dealers who used to fit over 50 to 60 CNG kits are now only fitting about two to three a month. Price difference between diesel and CNG is just Rs.4, but people will rather pay this difference rather than stand in meandering queues and/or contend with substandard equipment than opt for cheaper and cleaner fuel for their vehicles. The recent spate of petrol price hikes has not been able to get customers to que up for CNG as the mass majority shift reflects diesel preference.