Dual-fuel combustion mode with direct injection of diesel as the pilot fuel and port injection of compressed natural gas (CNG) in compression ignition (CI) engines has been widely investigated to comply with the latest emission regulations. The diesel-CNG dual-fuel combustion mode shows some potential to decrease NOx and soot emissions simultaneously, while it reveals a lower thermal efficiency compared to the pure diesel combustion mode under low load condition. The purpose of the current study is to investigate the possibility of using diesel blended with 1-butanol as the pilot fuel to enhance the engine performance and reduce emissions. Three pilot fuels-B0 (pure diesel), B10 (90% diesel and 10% 1-butanol by volume) and B20 (80% diesel and 20% 1-butanol) with the CNG substitution rates of 50% and 80% were compared at an engine speed of 1200 rpm. The experiments were conducted by sweeping the pilot fuel injection timing from -3 to -18 ° CA ATDC with an equivalent total energy (∼5 bar IMEP). The results illustrated that, for the 50% CNG substitution rate, the dual-fuel operation mode revealed a higher indicated thermal efficiency (ITE) under low load conditions, and B10 can significantly improve the ITE due to the shorter combustion duration. The emission results of B10 showed that it obtained lower THC and CO emissions, but a slightly higher NOx emission. For the 80% CNG substitution rate, the results presented lower ITE, higher THC and lower NOx emissions, comparatively.