Father Sez

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Converting my car to a NGV – My Experience

Wednesday June 11th, 2008 by fathersez

In view of the recent steep increase in fuel prices in Malaysia, my friend, KC Lau who blogs about personal finance suggested that I write about my experience in converting my car to a NGV. Thanks, KC for this idea.

I don’t remember when the option to fit cars with NGV kits was made available to Malaysians. (Harry says it was 23 years ago.) 

Predictably and completely befitting the name “Government”, the follow up was, shall we say, sad. Reading Harry’s blog should give us an idea of how sad! 

- There are only 40,000 users after 23 years of implementation.  

- The number of NGV filling stations (58 stations) is still very low causing  long queues at almost all of Petronas Petrol stations with one or two dispensers installed.  

And Malaysia is a huge producer of natural gas! 

So with petrol prices being relatively low and NGV availability very poor, very few Malaysians bothered to convert.

(You can see the history of petrol prices in Malaysia extracted from Najib’s Blog. (RM3.80 = USD1)) 

01/05/2004 - RM 1.37

01/10/2004 - RM 1.42

05/05/2005 - RM 1.52

31/07/2005 - RM 1.62

28/02/2006 - RM 1.92

04/06/2008 – RM2.70

The price increase in February 2006 made me start feeling the pinch. I drive an average of about 130 – 150 kms per working day and the fuel bill was getting a bit painful. I researched some websites on NGV and then took the plunge in August 2007. 

I got the car fitted in a workshop near my home and that cost me a total of RM 6,025. This included a “fee” of RM 125 because I used a credit card and another RM 700 when I changed the tank to a larger one.  

My distance travelled from January 06 (when we purchased the car) to August 2007 and fuel costs were 48,752 kms for RM 9,194.49 or RM 0.189 per km.  

Since then I have travelled a total of 40,907 kms (as at end of May 08), and paid RM3,332.97 in fuel costs or RM0.0815 per km. 

A savings of a whopping 56.8%.  (We keep detailed car logs, so these figures are easily available.) 

And these savings are before the recent 41% price hike and a relative high use of normal fuel. The savings will really start kicking in after I factor in this huge increase.  

Besides the obvious cost savings the other issues are:- 

a)    The full NGV tank can only be used for about 150 kms, thus needing frequent refilling. In my case it is daily. For me this is the biggest negative.  

b)    The filling up of the tank is dependent on the pressure at the dispenser being used. So there is some inconsistency. A full tank today may not give the same distance as the full tank of yesterday. Still the differences are not that great. 

c)     There are insufficient NGV stations around. Another big negative. So quite often I have to use normal petrol after the gas runs out. The National Oil Company, Petronas has announced that they’ll be adding in another 100 stations. Whilst this is good news, I’ll feel better once the stations are up. 

d)    I keep a print out of the NGV stations in the country. Then if by chance, I am near one, I try to fill up. Now a number of the stations have been etched in my memory.

e)    Sometimes, there seems to be some delay in the NG reaching the carburettor. Hence the car sort of jerks or doesn’t move. This only happens when we are starting the car. A little irritating at times, but not really a big negative.  

f)      There is less power when we use NGV. This is hardly a problem, since we can seamlessly switch on to petrol if we need a burst of speed for overtaking or something like that. 

g)    The NGV tank takes up part of the boot space. This problem is worse for the MPV’s and the smaller cars. I drive a Toyota Camry and so far I have had no problem with the reduced boot space.  

h)    NGV is acknowledged to be better for the environment as well as for the car. However, I have not noticed any clear savings on the servicing costs.  

I think NGV is the way to go. It is clear that Malaysians are moving by the droves to convert. Good for them!  

With increasing consumer awareness and pressure, I am sure more  NGV dispensing stations will start sprouting up. Then Malaysian motorists would be back to the days of “cheap fuel.”   

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14 Comments for “Converting my car to a NGV – My Experience”

by Susan
On June 11, 2008
At 10:34 pm

I just can’t fathom why the US govt & auto manufacturers, or even some auto parts store in the US, isn’t encouraging Americans to do this. Something really needs to be done about world dependence on fossil fuels, but aside from a lot of people saying “something needs to be done”, I don’t see much else happening in the States. :)

Good for you switching the car over!! That 41% increase was definitely dramatic.

On June 12, 2008
At 10:02 am

Hi, Susan,

Governments the world over work in strange ways. Like someone once said, “Put the Government in charge of the Sahara desert and in 5 years, the world will have a shortage of sand.”

Thanks for dropping by.

PS: By the way, is it possible to convert cars to natural gas in the US? And how do prices compare with normal petrol or diesel?

by Susan
On June 12, 2008
At 9:54 pm

Our mass transit buses (and some government owned cars) in my area (NY) run on natural gas, so it has to be possible, but we just don’t hear about that option for civilian cars. Right now natural gas is definitely cheaper than petrol or diesel, but I don’t know the cost to fill up a car (I only know what a “therm” costs {$3.45} and I have no idea how much a “therm” is - or if it would take 1 or a 100 of them to fill up a car’s tank). I do see a few stations are now carrying the E85 (ethanol) for the cars that run on “flex fuel” (can use either petrol or 85% ethanol), but I don’t think ethanol is the solution - I think using our nation’s food supply to run our vehicles is a pretty big risk.

Too bad we can’t come up with a way to run vehicles on garbage. That’s something we seem to have plenty of.

We see these press releases every now and again about a car that runs on used restaurant grease, or tap water, or something else, but then you never hear about it again. It’s almost as if “they” don’t really want a viable solution to world oil consumption.

I am seeing more people using reusable cloth bags at the supermarket instead of the plastic bags, so that’s a very small change, but at least a positive change.

I love the quote - and I’m sure that’s pretty accurate. :) We certainly are living in some interesting times…

Love your blog!!

[…] presents Converting my car to a NGV – My Experience. Fuel prices climbed 41% for Fathersez, and this post explains his process for a successful […]

[…] a lot of people sharing their experience here, here and […]

On June 20, 2008
At 1:42 am

Excellent read! Thanks for sharing it.

Best Wishes,
D4L

by violet
On June 21, 2008
At 9:34 pm

Hi there…well,i just need a clarification on a matter….Is there any chances for the gas tank to burst?
tq

On June 21, 2008
At 11:05 pm

Hi, Violet,

You have a valid concern. Pls look at the link below and see what the experts say about gas cylinders as compared to our normal fuel tanks.

http://www.ngv.com.my/videos/436_mog_technical_basics_consumer_edition.pdf

by KCLau
On June 23, 2008
At 10:56 am

I have to link to this masterpiece. Great work!

On June 23, 2008
At 2:32 pm

Thanks, KC. Hopefully others may also convert their cars and reduce the pinch of the high fuel prices.

On June 30, 2008
At 8:04 pm

[…] … I do see a few stations are now carrying the E85 ethanol for the cars that run on ???flex …http://www.fathersez.com/converting-my-car-to-a-ngv-%E2%80%93-my-experience/How To Make a Car Engine Ethanol Ready eHow.comRate: 3 Ratings With gasoline emissions seemingly […]

On August 4, 2008
At 6:01 am

[…] Use NGV - read this real experience by Fathersez […]

by Zul
On August 8, 2008
At 7:00 pm

The idea of using NGV has always captivated me, but then again the thought of refilling and stuff seems to hold me off. Seeing the long queue every time I drove past the Petronas near the HKL is not a pretty picture.

On August 9, 2008
At 11:56 am

Hello Zul.

Yes, the queue is a real pain. (Makes me wonder if our politicians ever thought of reducing the fuel subsidy by just spending one time on another 200 gas stations.)

But if you calculate that you are earning money each time you stand in the queue, it may be worth it.

Regards

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