GAIL quick to announce, slow to execute

Bangalore Environment

To encourage the use of CNG, GAIL plans to launch 55 CNG stations in the state.

The pending approval for licenses has delayed the launch of the expected 49 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations in Bangalore.

Mr. Abhishek Gupta, Senior Marketing Manager at Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL), Bangalore said, due to Covid-19, explosive licenses issued by the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO) were not available as officials were unable to visit the model sites which led to the delay in the launch of CNG gas stations around the city. He added, “We have now planned to open 55 CNG gas stations by December 2021.”

However, 33 gas stations are operational in Karnataka shows the latest report by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC).

In India, the total number of registered CNG vehicles till date is approximately 5.49 lakh. The number of registered CNG vehicles in Karnataka has increased from 338 in 2020 to 2391 according to latest data which shows a sudden spike in the demand for CNG vehicles in the state.

Mr. Raju K, Senior Sales Consultant at Pratham Motors said, “In a month, 8-10 commercial vehicles are being sold, which marks the maximum sales of our Maruti outlet.”

A model of Maruthi Suzuki’s CNG commercial vehicle

The demand for CNG vehicles in the state is on the rise based on the information available on the Vahan Dashboard.

The e-governance cell at the Karnataka Office of the Commissioner for Transport couldn’t give the exact number of CNG vehicles in Bangalore but a PPAC report for 2020 found 2,224 CNG vehicles in Karnataka.

Dr. A.N. Yellappa Reddy, Chairman of Bangalore Environment Trust (BET) said, “Government’s decision to encourage switch from petrol and diesel to CNG vehicles is good but switching over to CNG costs a lot of money, and people in Bangalore and Karnataka are not prepared to invest that amount yet.” Mr. Reddy elaborated that the private investment in the development of gas stations around the city should be encouraged by the government to increase the switch to CNG vehicles. The location of the gas stations is another issue. Mr. Reddy said that gas stations must be easily accessible to the public, only then will they be inclined towards switching to CNG vehicles.

GAIL signed an agreement with Go Gas under Confidence Petroleum India Ltd (CPIL) to incorporate a full Dealer Owned Dealer Operated (DODO) Model to develop more gas stations in Bangalore. Mr. Gupta said, “GAIL also launched a promotional scheme in September, which until last month has produced 600-700 switch overs.” The aim of the scheme is to have 6000 CNG vehicles by the end of 2021. The current CNG consumption in Bangalore, as an alternative fuel is approximately 25,000 kg per day shows data.

Drop in the level of sulphur dioxide after the use of CNG vehicles in Delhi.
Drop in the level of carbon monoxide after the use of CNG vehicles in Delhi.

U.S Department of Energy describes CNG as a fuel “produced by compressing natural gas to less than 1 per cent of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. To provide adequate driving range, CNG is stored onboard a vehicle in a compressed gaseous state at a pressure of up to 3,600 pounds per square inch. CNG is used in light-, medium-, and heavy-duty applications. A CNG-powered vehicle gets about the same fuel economy as a conventional gasoline vehicle on a GGE basis. One GGE equals about 5.66 pounds of CNG.”