Liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is supercooled natural gas, is favoured by long-haul buses and trucks due to its higher energy density than CNG, its ability to give a 600-800 km run on a single fill, and it being 30-40 pc cheaper than diesel.
So far, India uses petrol, diesel, CNG and auto-LPG as fuels to run automobiles. LNG is a new fuel that can be dispensed from outlets similar to petrol pumps, and is used not just in long long-haul buses and trucks but also in running mining equipment, as bunker fuel, and rail locomotives.
LNG will reduce the cost of operation as well as reduce carbon emissions, Pradhan said at the launch of construction of the first 50 LNG dispensing stations.
“In the next three years, Rs 10,000 crore will be spent on setting up of 1,000 LNG stations in the private and public sector,” he said.
LNG as a fuel, he said, is poised to bring a transformational change in the way transportation happens.
“There are around 10 million trucks in the country. If we are able to convert even 10 per cent of them (10 lakh), imagine the savings it will bring considering the fact that LNG is up to 40 percent cheaper than diesel,” he said.
LNG as a fuel has almost zero carbon emissions and 85 percent lesser NOx emissions, he said.
The initial 50 LNG stations are being set up on the Golden Quadrilateral highways connecting four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
“In times to come, there will be an LNG station at every 200-300 km on the GQ and on all major highways,” he said.
“We have been working on a well thought of strategy for a gas-based economy. Expansion of city gas networks, laying of trunk pipelines, building LNG (import) terminals, raising of domestic production of gas, simplification of tax structure and a uniform and simple tariff structure are all part of that plan,” he said.