Cheaper and fuel-efficient Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles may have come as a relief for the common man, but getting a refill each time is no mean feat.
Despite a generous supply at the filling stations, overcrowding, erratically placed locations and long fill-up time ensure the consumer has a harrowing experience during each visit.
Currently, Lucknow has eight CNG stations with a total production capacity of 90,000 kg per day against the daily demand of 70,000 kg spawned by 12,000-odd registered CNG vehicles.
On the flip side, a CNG fill takes two to three minutes per vehicle, as compared to diesel and petrol fuelling, which is done in less than a minute.
This leads to overcrowding of CNG filling stations and serves as a major repellent for future users.
Besides, the location of filling stations is another deterrent in attracting new consumers.
“I thought of switching over to the CNG. But the long queues of vehicles at the filling stations changed my mind,” says Devraj Singh, a four-wheeler owner.
In 2008, the total number of CNG vehicles (cars, vans, school buses and other commercial vehicles) in the city was around 500.
Within four years, as on Dec 31, 2012, the number of cars that use CNG as fuel went up to 4,500. Besides, the number of commercial vehicles like vans, school buses etc stands at 6,500 today.
Apart from the cheaper refuelling rates, the cost of running CNG-fitted cars is substantially lower than that of running petrol-diesel vehicles.
Majority of current users say that they switched to the CNG out of environmental concern even as they admit cheaper prices had been a major drive for the switch apart from fuel efficiency.
“Petrol prices are increasing by the day, which drives the CNG use and conversion. We are aware about the increasing demand and are coming up with more for consumers,” said an official of Green Gas Ltd (GGL), which is the main supplier of CNG.
To help combat the current crisis, a new CNG filling station had been set up in June near IET, Aliganj while five others are in the pipeline.
“We are awaiting chief controller’s clearance for a station in Chinhat,” the officials added.