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GAIL to expand CNG network to 46 cities
Chanchal Pal Chauhan in New Delhi | October 24, 2006 01:16 IST
GAIL (India) Ltd is planning to expand its compressed natural gas distribution network to 46 cities in the country over the next four years.
At present, CNG, as a vehicle fuel, is available in Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, Kanpur and Lucknow.
Cities like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Pune, Patna, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Gwalior, Indore, Silchar, and Jaipur will soon be added to the list.
GAIL believes its CNG network expansion plan will work on the premise that the cost of running a vehicle on CNG is almost one-third that of petrol.
The automobile industry has been demanding expansion of the network for a long time to ensure integrated inter-city transport on CNG fuel.
Absence of a proper CNG network has forced some auto companies to abandon it in favour of other alternative fuels.
Market leader Maruti Udyog Ltd, which had launched CNG models earlier, has now opted for LPG due to its wider availability and convenient refuelling.
"We had some CNG-compliant models, but its limited availability in the market and re-fuelling restrictions (CNG requires minimum pressure limits for re-fuelling) prompted us to opt for LPG. CNG can only be supplied through its feeder pipeline, while LPG is easily transportable to any part of the country. Now all our gas models run on LPG," said a senior official of MUL.
However, a few other companies are still banking on the cheaper CNG.
Hyundai will soon launch Santro's CNG model, while Ford Ikon's CNG variant will be out in November.
General Motors has already launched its premium sedan Optra on CNG. Ashok Leyland is launching CNG-run commercial vehicles early next year.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers' has been demanding easier availability of CNG along with standardisation of the auto-fuel.
Dilip Chenoy, director general, SIAM, said, "The expansion of the CNG network will help customers when they travel to other cities, though the content of methane and other gases needs to be maintained in the fuel to have a proper calorific value and desired combustion in engines."