What would make you consider an alternative-fuel vehicle, like natural gas or hybrid, over a convention gasoline-powered vehicle?
There are generally two reasons. First, the price of gasoline keeps going up. The more it costs to drive a mile to work, the less you have in your pocket at the end of the week. Second, the more gasoline you burn, the more carbon dioxide gets pumped into the atmosphere. While many would consider the second reason the more noble of the two, there are very few who would consider spending the extra cash on an alternative-fueled vehicle, such as a natural gas vehicle conversion.
On the other hand, the second reason is often the most compelling, when the price of fuel hits you in your wallet. Alternative-fuel vehicles are becoming more popular than ever for this simple fact. In Russia, the price of natural gas has continued to drop and the price is about $2/gal lower than gasoline. [Natural gas is sold by the equivalent amount of energy in a gallon of gas.]
Put another way, a gallon of natural gas, worth $3.80 in the city of Krasnodar, can power a Russian 1998 Lada for 140 miles. A 50mpg Toyota Prius would cost $16.24 to go the same distance on gasoline.
That being said, the push for hybrid technology hasn’t been nearly as great as the push for natural gas vehicles and conversion kits. In Russia, you can find natural gas conversion kits for less than $1,000, but here in the US, such kits go for as high as $18,000. The US kits are built to a much higher standard, but I wonder if they can be made more affordable. The US is producing more natural gas than ever before, could we see the same natural gas vehicle boom here?