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Contact: Lori Buttars

Public Information Officer

(801) 399-7114

Press Release

July 1, 2008

Health Department Cautions Drivers on Switching to Natural Gas

Some self-conversion kits don’t meet EPA requirements, can be dangerous

(Ogden, UT) Automobile owners who are thinking of converting their cars to compressed natural gas combustion systems should also be looking for certified mechanics to install them, say Weber-Morgan health officials.

“Not all of the conversion kits available for sale have been certified to meet EPA standards,” says Brian Cowan, an environmental health scientist and program director with Weber-Morgan Health Department. “Installing a non-certified system is considered tampering with the emissions system and is against federal and state law. Cars that have been tampered with cannot pass emissions inspections.”

Those who drive certified compressed natural gas cars qualify for a onetime tax credit from the state as a reward for helping reduce automobile pollution in Utah. But workers in the WMHD Vehicle Emissions Center are concerned about people buying and installing the systems themselves as drivers look for ways to curb fuel costs.

“We are aware of non-certified systems being sold at shops in the area and on the internet,” Cowan says.

Drivers should only buy conversion kits that come with a certificate saying the kit meets EPA standards and a decal installed by the mechanic. Emissions technicians will need to see both the decal and the certificate at the time of inspection.

For more information on alternative fuels and getting your conversion certified, see the EPA website:

http://www.epa.gov/oms/consumer/fuels/altfuels/altfuels.htm

Cowan says some systems for sale override the vehicle’s emissions control system, causing it to put out more pollutants than a gasoline-based system. Another concern is that the natural gas needs to be pressurized at 3,000 psi [pounds per square inch], and filling a non-certified tank could be unsafe.

“We don’t want people to spend time and money to install these systems only to discover they won’t pass emissions inspection without being certified,” Cowan says. “We encourage those who are considering making this change to contact the health department to verify that appropriate systems are being used.”

The Vehicle Emissions Center can be reached at 801-399-7140.