CNG car vs petrol car: Which car is better, CNG or petrol?

Team AckodriveJun 6, 2022

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Fuel efficiency is one of the most important factors while buying a car. Especially in India, mileage can take the front seat when looking out for a car. If fuel economy is your preference, CNG cars are one of the best options. But there might be one question in your mind, is a CNG car better than a petrol car? And that's what we are addressing in this article. Read ahead as we throw more light on CNG vs petrol cars.

CNG Car Vs Petrol Car

CNG or petrol car, which is better?

Before diving deep into the topic of CNG cars vs petrol cars, you need to understand the key differences between them. That way, you will be able to make an informed decision. Refer to the table below for differences between CNG and petrol cars.

Parameters CNG cars Petrol cars
Fuel price Inexpensive Expensive
Initial cost High Lower than CNG cars.
Running cost Lower than petrol cars. Higher than CNG cars.
Maintenance cost Higher than petrol cars. Lower than CNG cars.
Eco-friendliness CNG cars produce fewer emission gases. Petrol cars produce harmful emission gases.
Performance CNG cars are less powerful than petrol cars. Petrol cars produce more power than CNG cars.
Fuel efficiency High Low
Range Low driving range due to the smaller capacity of the CNG tank. Higher driving range due to the higher capacity fuel tank.
Fuel availability CNG refuelling stations are not easily available. Petrol refuelling stations are easily available.

CNG vs petrol mileage

The below points explain the difference in fuel efficiency between a CNG car and a petrol car.

  • A CNG car runs on Compressed Natural Gas, and the fuel is measured in kilograms, unlike litres.

  • A CNG car returns high fuel efficiency when compared to a petrol car.

  • To make it even simple, let's compare the fuel efficiency of the Maruti Wagon R CNG and petrol model.

  • The CNG variant of the Wagon R returns a mileage of 32.52 km per kg of CNG. In comparison, the petrol model returns a fuel economy of 21.79 km per litre of petrol.

CNG vs petrol engine life

One common myth about CNG fuel is that it reduces engine life. But in reality, it doesn’t. If the vehicle comes with a factory-fitted CNG kit, it does not reduce the engine life. Hence, a petrol and CNG car have similar engine life.

The modern CNG cars with manufacturer-fitted CNG kits come with ECU (Electronic Control Unit) for precise fuel supply control. The engine components are also specially developed for CNG fuel. Hence, the engine life is not compromised. However, one must maintain the car correctly to get the maximum engine life.

CNG vs petrol car maintenance

CNG and petrol cars come with identical mechanical components except for the CNG kit that comprises the CNG tank, fuel lines, etc. The basic maintenance for both the CNG and petrol cars remain the same. However, since a CNG car has a few additional components, it requires extra care.

CNG is a highly combustible fuel, and regular maintenance of the CNG kit is essential. One has to regularly check the CNG tank and fuel lines for any signs of wear and tear. Timely replacement of components is crucial to avoid any fuel leakage. The rest of the car's maintenance remains the same as a petrol car.

Is CNG cheaper than petrol?

Yes, CNG fuel is cheaper than petrol, and it is one of the most significant advantages of owning a CNG vehicle. Not only is CNG fuel more affordable than petrol, but a CNG car also returns higher fuel efficiency than a petrol car. So, it's a win-win situation for a CNG-powered vehicle owner.

To have a clear picture, let's look at the price of CNG and petrol in Delhi.

Fuel Price (Delhi)
CNG Rs. 52.04 per kg
Petrol Rs. 95.45 per litre

*Prices as of December 2, 2021

CNG car pros

Below are the advantages of CNG cars.

  • Cost-effective fuel: CNG fuel is cheaper than conventional fuels like petrol and diesel.

  • Higher fuel efficiency: A CNG car returns higher fuel economy than a petrol or diesel car.

  • Low running cost: With the combination of a lower fuel price and high fuel economy, the running cost of a CNG vehicle is comparatively lower than a petrol car. In the longer run, the lower running cost will be extremely beneficial.

  • Eco-friendly: CNG is a green fuel, and it is one of the cleanest fuels you can use right now. A CNG-powered car produced significantly fewer carbon emissions. Hence, owning a CNG fuel car helps reduce vehicular pollution, which has become one of the most significant contributors to ever-increasing environmental pollution.

  • The flexibility of bi-fuel: A CNG car is also a bi-fuel vehicle. That means the vehicle can run on both petrol and CNG fuel. So, if you need more performance out of the engine, you can switch to petrol fuel. Similarly, you can drive on CNG fuel to cut down the running cost.

CNG car cons

Below are some of the disadvantages of CNG-powered cars.

  • Lack of performance: If performance is your priority, CNG cars are not for you. Yes, CNG cars deliver lower power than petrol cars. You can feel the power lag if you are used to driving a petrol vehicle. So, it may take some time for you to get accustomed to the low power of a CNG car.

  • Small CNG tank: The CNG fuel tanks (cylinders) are smaller than petrol tanks. Hence, it results in a shorter driving range. However, you can use a CNG car for long drives as you can easily switch to petrol fuel if you run out of CNG. 

  • Lack of CNG refuelling stations: CNG fuel might be cheaper, but CNG fuel stations are not available at every location. Moreover, you may have to wait in long queues to fuel up your CNG car due to the lack of refuelling stations. It can be irritating at times, especially if you are in a hurry.

  • CNG cylinder hampers the boot space: Generally, the CNG cylinder is fitted inside the car's boot. So, if it's a hatchback, it will eat up all the boot space. Hence, you cannot carry luggage when on a long drive. One can manage the situation if it's a sedan or an MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle), as the boot is much larger than a hatchback.

  • Need to maintain the CNG kit: One must regularly check and maintain the CNG kit. The cylinder and fuel lines need maintenance to avoid any fuel leakage. It is an additional expense apart from regular vehicle maintenance.

  • High initial investment: CNG cars are more expensive than petrol cars. Hence, you end up spending more money to buy a CNG car.

Petrol car pros

Here are the advantages of petrol engine-powered cars.

  • Good performance: Petrol engines produce more power than a CNG-powered car. You will not experience any power lag when you step on the throttle. The initial acceleration and top speed will be better than a CNG car. Overall, the driving experience is much more enjoyable with a petrol car.

  • Better driving range: Generally, petrol fuel tanks are larger than CNG cylinders. Hence, you can expect a more extended driving range on a full tank of fuel. It is ideal for long drives as you need not frequently stop for refuelling. Hence, petrol cars are suitable for long road trips.

  • Easily accessible petrol fuel stations: Unlike CNG fuel stations, petrol fuel stations are available in the nook and corner of the country. Hence, you need not worry about refuelling your car.

  • Lower initial investment: Petrol cars command a lower price tag than CNG cars. Hence, your initial investment reduces by some margin.

Petrol car cons

Below are some of the disadvantages of petrol cars.

  • Higher running cost: The combination of higher fuel prices and lower fuel efficiency results in increased running costs. Petrol is more expensive than CNG. So, the running costs are also on the higher side. 

  • Produces carbon emissions: A petrol engine produces more carbon emissions than a CNG-powered car. Hence, a petrol car contributes to increasing pollution, which is not good for the environment.

How to convert a petrol car to a CNG car

Since CNG cars are popular in India, most car manufacturers provide factory-fitted CNG kits with the vehicles. However, suppose you are driving a petrol car, and there is no OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) kit available. In that case, you can use aftermarket CNG kits to convert your petrol car to a CNG fuel car.

However, you have to be careful while choosing the CNG kit and installation. Visit an authorised seller, purchase the kit, and install it with the help of an expert mechanic. Ensure that you use good quality components during the installation process.

Best mileage petrol and CNG cars

Below are the best mileage petrol car and best CNG cars available in India.

Petrol cars CNG cars
Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Maruti Wagon R
Tata Altroz Maruti Alto
Hyundai i20 Maruti S-Presso
Hyundai Aura Maruti Celerio
Honda Amaze Hyundai Santro

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about CNG cars vs petrol cars.

Does a CNG car return better mileage than a petrol car?

Yes, a CNG car delivers higher fuel economy than a petrol engine-powered car.

Does CNG fuel hamper engine life?

Generally, the factory-fitted CNG kits do not hamper the engine life. However, maintenance also plays a role in engine life. So, proper maintenance is also needed to get the best out of the engine.

Which fuel type car is best, CNG or petrol?

It depends on your requirements. A CNG car can be beneficial if you commute daily due to its low running costs. On the contrary, if you take out your car seldomly, a petrol car is a better choice due to its lower initial investment.

Is CNG fuel harmful to engines?

No, CNG is not harmful to the engine. However, CNG fuel results in a reduction in power that hampers the acceleration and top speed of the vehicle.

Can CNG fuel catch fire?

Yes, CNG can catch fire in case of leakage from the cylinder or fuel lines. There are chances of fire if the CNG car meets with an accident.

Do all cars come with a CNG fuel option?

Not all cars are available with CNG fuel options. Generally, entry and mid-level cars come with factory-fitted CNG kits. The premium cars are usually not available with CNG fuel. However, one can fit the aftermarket CNG kit into a petrol car. But the manufacturer-provided kits are always safer than the aftermarket kits.

Will CNG fuel affect the performance of the car?

Yes, the CNG fuel affects the performance of the car. The implications of the CNG fuel are reduced power output, reduced torque and lag in initial acceleration. The combination of these can affect the way you drive the car. However, with time you will get used to it.

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