Just as diesel transformed the automobile industry in India over the past year, thanks to its considerable price differential with petrol, compressed natural gas (CNG) is now enjoying its day in the sun. The six sharp spurts in petrol prices have doubled the demand for vehicles run on CNG in the year.
Maruti Suzuki, the only manufacturer offering factory-fitted CNG variants across its portfolio of small cars, sedans and utility vehicles, has seen volumes from CNG vehicles shoot up from a monthly average of 1,700 units to over 4,000 units over 18 months. Despite the limited number of dispensing stations, sales of CNG cars have been on a rise. The running cost of a CNG car is a third of that for a petrol car, which is making an increasing number of customers opt for the fuel variant,” said Shashank Srivastava, chief general manager (marketing), Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL). The company has CNG variants of the Alto, WagonR and Estilo small cars, the multi-utility Eeco and the Swift sedan.