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Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas has announced that the government is planning to set up 10,000 CNG stations in the country. Speaking at the 58th Annual SIAM Convention, the minister shared that all the new stations will come up across the nation by 2030.
Currently, only 1424 CNG stations are available in India and they have to serve more than 30 lakh CNG-powered vehicles. Many major manufacturers offer their small cars in CNG formats due to the cost-effectiveness they offer and also the lessened emissions.
In fact, two of the leading car services operating in India: Uber and Ola, employ CNG-based power plants in most of their cars. Although a cheaper alternative to conventional petrol, the drivers always had a complaint that they had to run extra kilometres just to get their cars filled up. Hopefully, the new initiative will prevent this.
As mentioned before, the country is facing a high deficit of enough CNG-filling stations. For the same reasons, the existing CNG stations often witness long queues of vehicles waiting for their turn to fill up. There were instances in some parts of the country where just the rush at CNG stations alone caused traffic problems.
The rising prices of petrol and diesel have also instigated a noticeable shift towards CNG-powered vehicles. This is particularly evident in fleet operations and commercial segment. Many small cars plying within urban boundaries also run on CNG; numbers depending on their proximity to the nearest CNG station.
CNG-based engines emit almost 30% lesser carbon dioxide in comparison to a similarly-powered petrol or diesel unit. CNG can also be prepared locally and the government need not import it from outside; thereby, saving the country's economy.
Currently, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai are the major brands which make CNG-powered cars and the mInister has requested other vehicle manufacturers to consider making their own alternatives. Adding to this, a new-generation Ford Figo CNG version was recently spotted testing.
Thoughts On The Government Setting Up 10,000 CNG Stations In India
The move to broaden the availability of CNG stations is a sense of relief for many who own or drive CNG cars; especially fleet operator. The new initiative also shows the government's concern about the rising fossil fuel prices and emissions. India still has to go a long way before effective emission control measures such as electric mobility could be widely implemented. Hence, we can consider the plan to set up 10,000 CNG stations, as a good start.