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The pros and cons of using natural gas

For those who are unable to bear the rise in petrol prices, the usual way out is to switch to natural gas.

There are two types of natural gas available - compressed-natural gas (CNG) and liquefied-petroleum gas (LPG) - and there are also two types of systems 0 fumigation and injection.

It is easy to choose between the two systems. If your car has a carburettor, choose fumigation and if your car has a fuel-injection system, choose injection.

The difference between the two systems is that fumigation is less accurate than injection, resulting in higher consumption of fuel and more chances of backfiring than the injection system.

It will be beneficial if the driver of the fumigation system has some knowledge about engines. Check the spark plugs more often along with the gas filter which needs to be cleaned regularly to lower the amount of engine backfiring.

But the installation cost of the fumigation system is as much as Bt20,000 to Bt30,000 cheaper than the injection system and requires fewer modifications to the electric system. Hence, you are likely to have fewer problems with the electrical system than the injection system.

The injection system, on the other hand, requires installation of a device which reads the amount of fuel fed to the injectors. This device reports to the engine's electronic-control unit which then calculates the right amount of air to be mixed with the petrol in order to produce the most complete combustion.

This device usually causes the engine-warning indicator to light up on the dashboard, which makes the driver wonder whether the light is due to inaccurate reading or if there is actually an engine problem (or electrical shortage).

Most service centres will refuse to correct the problem and blame the gas system. If you take it to the gas mechanics, they will say everything is normal and the light shows up because there is something wrong with the engine's electrical system.

So, you will end up driving the car with the problem persisting and the engine-warning light being lit up all the time. This is quite stressful as you never know for sure if there is something wrong and whether the car will suffer a breakdown.

Meanwhile, with a fumigation system, the engine may experience hiccups at idling speed and the engine may suddenly shut off and restart again.

So, before getting your car installed with a gas system, think carefully about overall costs, not just the fuel cost, since you may be spending more on other things afterward.

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