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Old 05-02-2010, 03:09 PM   #1
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Pipe Dream or Real Possibility??

I just finished reading a section in the RVtravel.com newsletter. It often contains some very interesting and useful info. I was reading a section concerning the economy and what it might me for those of us with motorhomes.
One segment of the lead article caught my eye. This portion stated that it might be time to think about converting one's motorhome over to natural gas, and that natural gas was one sixth the cost of diesel fuel. Is this really possible? Is it practical? Who would do the conversion? How much would it cost to covert a motorhome over to natural gas? Where would one get the natural gas? This sounds good on the surface, however, I wonder if this in in the realm of a "pipe dream". Fuel cells, hydrogen, diesel from corn, biodiesel fuels (which I know do exist an are used even by Willie Nelson), but for us regular dudes out here in the hinterlands.......I think that some of this sounds about as promising in the very near future as me hitting the Power Ball Lottery. Oh, well, it's fun to dream.
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Old 05-02-2010, 03:57 PM   #2
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When you see over-the-road tractor trailers convert to CNG you will know that there are enough service stations handling the stuff to warrant some thought re converting motor homes. The distribution system is the weak link in all of these otherwise great ideas.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:13 PM   #3
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Range is normally the limiting factor on natural gas or compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled vehicles. In the mid 90's, a west Texas trucking firm tried CNG but fuel mpg and reduced range caused them to go back to diesel. A number of public transit operations use natural gas but they have on site compressors to refuel and they have large fuel cylinders mounted on the roof of the coaches. Again, range is a challenge. In that time frame, GM was testing natural gas fueled pick up trucks - limited range again worked against the wide spread use of it.

Like it or not, diesel fuel has many advantages the others do not enjoy.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:10 AM   #4
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A big thank you

My thanks to J Griff and Fleetman. I'm always confident that I'll find someone in the IRV2 forums who knows their stuff. The two responses that I received were enlightening for me. I appreciate very much your response to my question.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:20 AM   #5
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Correction to my post above. The Texas truck firm was using Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) but experienced the problems I mentioned. LNG requires high pressure tanks and they present their own challenges.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
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At one time I had a car that I converted to run on butane.
Although the octane was higher than that of gasoline the energy content was lower. Mileage and power were both reduced. It would be worse with compressed natural gas or propane. The energy content of methane (natural gas) is lower than propane, butane , and gasoline.
I would not want any reduction in power with my coach.
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:59 AM   #7
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A few years ago we had to calll a gas company out to drain out LP tank beacuse it was leaking. When the truck arrived I noticed it was diesel powered. I asked the service man why (since they were in the LP and Natural gas business) didn't they power their own trucks with gas.

His answer was that they had tried it in a couple trucks to judge the economics of conversion. The end result was that they didn't convert because of the lack of power and poor fuel economy on heavy vehicles. He claimed it was more expensive to run the trucks on compressed natural gas or LP gas (even though they were paying wholesale prices) than it was to buy diesel fuel at retail prices.
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