It’s not easy being green. For the last two years, I drove a natural-gas vehicle – which I just sold.
I loved the technology. It’s clean-burning, cuts smog, and drives just like a gasoline vehicle. At 69-cents per gasoline litre equivalent, nat-gas also saved me a ton of money. The problem was that the refuelling infrastructure evaporated beneath my feet.
When I bought the vehicle in 2010, there were 26 public nat-gas stations in Ontario. According to Enbridge’s online map, that number has now fallen to just eight.
This became an issue for me when my work no longer took me past a west-end Toronto refuelling location on a regular basis. That meant getting nat-gas now involved an out-of-the-way 17 km trek from my home, or 34 km both ways, just to fill up.
Home nat-gas refuelling machines can be rented for $90/month, but my usage didn’t justify that expense.
My 2001 Ford F150 was factory nat-gas only, not dual fuel, so it couldn’t run on gasoline.
What’s the next vehicle in my future?
Well, I basically sold the truck for what I paid two years ago, to someone who lives near a fill station. Repairs and added equipment (hydraulic liftgate) costs were nullified by the hefty fuel savings, so I pretty much broke even overall – which counts as a “win” in my book.
I’m hoping to do as well with my next vehicle. Hybrids and electrics don’t suit my needs, so I’m considering a converted dual-fuel automobile that runs on gasoline or propane – which sells for 53.9 cents per gasoline litre equivalent.
At least if availability of that alternative fuel disappears, I’ll still be able to run on gasoline – until I sell it and find another “green machine” that is.
Rustproofing cost: Following last week’s column, a reader asks what I pay for rustproofing. The location mentioned charges $130 (most vehicles) for the no-drip treatment. But I actually didn’t have it done this year because, as noted above, I don’t own a vehicle at present.