Monday, November 29, 1999

Costly fuel: CNG price sees five hikes in a yr

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New Delhi, June 17 -- After almost a month long wait, the Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) has announced increase of CNG prices in Delhi, Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad by Rs 5.60 per kilogram. This is the fifth hike in price of CNG in less than a year. In Delhi, CNG will now cost Rs 27.50 per kg, while in Noida and Ghaziabad it will be available at Rs 30.60 per kilogram from the intervening night of June 16-17. IGL's director (commercial) Manmohan Singh blamed increase in the input price of gas procured by IGL for the hike. Known as the poor man's fuel till now, CNG is now almost as costly as any other fuel in Delhi. It may offer 59 per cent savings in running cost if compared to petrol-run vehicles in Delhi but in comparison to diesel driven vehicles, the savings have reduced to just 28 per cent. In Noida and Ghaziabad, where CNG is costlier, diesel is priced cheaper than Delhi and the fuel economics work in favour of Diesel. "With each increase in CNG prices, which have been happening more frequently now, the number of customers at our workshop has been decreasing. This is a bigger hike and I am sure the number of customers opting for CNG-kit fittings would go down substantially," said Pradeep Tyagi, who retrofits CNG kits in petrol-run vehicles. "Two years ago, CNG had suddenly caught up in a big way with motorists who wanted to run their vehicles on alternate fuel. The craze has started waning away," he added. This hike has jacked up CNG prices in the Capital by a total of Rs 8.20 per kilogram in the past 11 months. Though CNG continues to be the cheapest fuel in market, the hike has brought the CNG prices much closer to diesel, another popular fuel with motorists who drive long distances every day and prefer using cheaper alternate to petrol."Maintenance cost of diesel-run vehicles increases with the age of the vehicle. Those who want a cheaper fuel would continue to opt for CNG kits," Sachdeva said.

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