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What ever happened to CNG in cars?


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When I was a kid, every second car was cng or lpg.

then at some point in perhaps my late teens, nothin.

did all the gas gusslers just give up the ghost and the change in the fleet characteristics meant it was just no longer necessary? Jap imports?

 

 

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It was driven by Robert Muldoon's gas to gasoline programme in the Naki I think. I think they found better uses for the raw product. I had an HJ holden on CNG. Would get about 100 km range, then need to re-fuel. Wasn't as powerful as petrol. It was kind of like running on a can of fly spray, when it was getting empty it would give less power. I could almost tell when I was going to run out cause the power would drop off.

LPG didn't have that problem. But the installation cost a lot, and you had a whacking big bottle taking up a lot of space in the car (boot normally). I think in imported cars it just got replaced by better tech (smaller, more fuel efficient cars), and the overall cost of maintaining the infrastructure built up so it wasn't economic. I'm thinking gas station installations, distribution etc. Remember it was driven off the back of the 70's oil crises. The Saudi's started pumping more oil, demand, supply. Kind of the same as green tech. If petrol goes up, options become more viable, if petrol goes down, options become less viable.

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38 minutes ago, Fish said:

It was driven by Robert Muldoon's gas to gasoline programme in the Naki I think. I think they found better uses for the raw product. I had an HJ holden on CNG. Would get about 100 km range, then need to re-fuel. Wasn't as powerful as petrol. It was kind of like running on a can of fly spray, when it was getting empty it would give less power. I could almost tell when I was going to run out cause the power would drop off.

LPG didn't have that problem. But the installation cost a lot, and you had a whacking big bottle taking up a lot of space in the car (boot normally). I think in imported cars it just got replaced by better tech (smaller, more fuel efficient cars), and the overall cost of maintaining the infrastructure built up so it wasn't economic. I'm thinking gas station installations, distribution etc. Remember it was driven off the back of the 70's oil crises. The Saudi's started pumping more oil, demand, supply. Kind of the same as green tech. If petrol goes up, options become more viable, if petrol goes down, options become less viable.

it was driven by the second oil crisis of 79 and that's when the conversion industry took off. We had a 6 cyl Commodore on CNG and we could do AKL to Whangarei 1 way on a fill. Performance was about 10% off that of Petrol. It crashed here when the bottom fell out of the oil price in the mid 80's

CNG is just that, compressed gas and therefore you cannot pack any where near the amount of energy density into the cylinder compared to LPG, hence the low range.

CNG is still alive and well in various countries where there is plenty of gas, most of the city buses in Perth are on CNG, CNG is still used in cars in Brasil and elsewhere, see

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas_vehicle

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Besides Jap imports, (or perhaps because of them), quiet, high performing diesel engines in small vehicles became available.
And in the days of mechanical odometers, never had to pay much in the way of road user charges. 
The South Island never had CNG or LPG and I remember trips to Christchurch and Dunedin where all the taxis were loud, smelly and very slow diesel cars. 

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10 hours ago, DrWatson said:

I did wonder if the increasing prevalence of Diesel cars, + the improving fleet technology helped...

 

not really, it was more that with the drop in oil price early-mid  80's, the cost of conversions and removal of subsidies to convert to CNG (you received a bunch of gas fill vouchers with your conversion)together with the range/performance issues that it just did not make economic sense at least here in NZ. This was before the used car imports and increase in diesel passenger vehicles commenced which was in the 90's

 

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