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Saving a Buck: Is CNG conversion worth it?

Saving a buck can be difficult, especially when those gas prices are soaring.

With fluctuating prices at the pump many consumers are looking at their options.

One of those options is compressed natural gas.

A conversion isn’t cheap, but experts say in the long run it could pay off.

Johnny Weatherford is one of those saving thanks to CNG.

Weatherford said, “I’m saving a lot!”

He recently converted his 2011 Toyota Rav 4 to CNG.

He and other Oklahomans are relying on CNG of OKC to make the switch.

Josh Chapman, with CNG of OKC, said, “We leave your factory fuel system intact, that way we don’t void any warranties on new vehicles.”

Chapman and his crews work every day converting both fleet vehicles and personal vehicles.

Though he admits the cost of conversion is not worth it for every driver.

Chapman said, “If you aren’t driving more than a thousand miles a month I say save your time and money, at least for right now.”

For Mr. Weatherford, who drives from Stillwater to Oklahoma City several times a week, the conversion was worth it.

As for the cost of a conversion, it depends on the size of CNG tank you choose. The total conversion usually adds up to about $7,000 to $8,500.

Here in Oklahoma, Chapman said there is a tax credit available. The credit is worth up to 50 percent of the conversion cost.

He said, “It makes it extremely affordable for most people.”

Another benefit Chapman says is most customers who convert are seeing about a 20-percent increase in their fuel economy.

The downside, the tank takes up some of your trunk space and CNG is not available everywhere. That means if you travel out-of-town you will need to do a little planning.

With the CNG of OKC system your gas tank stays on your car allowing you to switch seamlessly between the two fuels with the press of a button, even while you drive.

If you run out of CNG it switches automatically.

Chapman said, “Most people don’t even realize the fuel source switches.”

Weatherford said, “I can see that in one year it’s going to pay for the thing.”

So far, Mr. Weatherford is extremely pleased with his conversion.

If you aren’t sure if a conversion is worth the cost just ask! CNG of OKC tells us they have turned customers away because the cost simply was not worth it for those customers.

As for the tax credit, make sure you check the details with your financial advisor or accountant before you make the conversion.