I just arrived back from Pakistan a little while ago. By the way my family and I were in Pakistan when the assassination took place and I have to say that I found the media coverage here to be very distorted…but we can discuss this later. 

I have not been back for several years and each time I go back I am surprised by the changes taking place. When I was in Pakistan seven years ago businesses had started converting their diesel vehicles (mostly trucks) to use bio fuels. This was due to the high price of petroleum.  

This time I noticed a plethora of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations across Lahore. CNG is now being used by individuals and businesses, again due to the high price of petroleum. When people use CNG they do so primarily to save money, but an off shoot of this is cleaner air and less greenhouse emissions (about 90% less as reported by CNG.com.pk).  

The International Association of Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) ranks Pakistan as second in the total number of CNG vehicles on the road. This might not be the most accurate figure as Green Car Congress reports that some “50, 000 vehicles a month are converting to CNG” in Pakistan.  

Another great thing about the current proliferation of CNG is what it has done for passengers of rickshaws.   

Two of my cousins and I decided to go for a trek to the Lahore Fort. Unfortunately the vehicles in our household were being used so my cousin suggested going by rickshaw. Having traveled by rickshaw seven years ago I hesitated. “Listen why not just take a taxi” I said. “Then we don’t have to deal with the fumes and the bumpy ride.” 

However the new CNG rickshaws emit little fumes, are not as loud, and have a smoother ride. I can’t say the smoother ride or the reduced noise had much to do with CNG. It may have had more to do with the fact the rickshaw was new and was fitted with a better suspension system and a noise reducing device thing-a-ma-giggie.

The use of CNG seems like a win/win situation where people and businesses benefit with reduced costs in fuel, the creation of jobs that helps the economy. Plus many countries have huge reserves of natural gas which eliminates the need for oil transportation (and potential spills). And everyone benefits with cleaner air (unless you really enjoy breathing in diesel and petrol fumes…hey you never know). 

The potential downside is that CNG still produces greenhouse emissions (though significantly less). As well, (and this is dependant on what report you read) CNG takes up four times the space of petrol to provide the same amount of energy.