In the first two months of the year, figures for the installation of compressed natural gas (CNG) equipment in vehicles were recovered, compared to the same period last year, which coincides with the pre-epidemic phase. There were about 305 operations between January and February. The data is encouraging and the workshops in the governorate are enthusiastic to the point that they say that since the emergence of the virus it was practically not necessary to give shifts to clients and now the deadlines are between one week and ten days. A report published in January this year revealed that 1,295 transactions were registered in 2020, a figure that is 42% below the 2,230 diversions recorded in 2019, according to data from the National Gas Regulatory Authority (Enargas). The number was the lowest in the past five years at least, and according to sources in the sector, it was due to the paralysis of activities caused by the epidemic, for example the shortage of categories and the reduced movement of vehicles due to the decrease in economic activity. Now there has been a boom, there are more vehicles on the streets, mainly because the boys are returning to the classroom, which is why the conversions are back. The other factor is undoubtedly the rise in the price of gasoline, which today saw a new high of around 7%. To get an idea of costs, installing third-generation equipment, with a 14m3 tube, costs about 68,000 pesos, according to specialist workshops. If it was a newer unit, then a 5G team worth 75,000 pesos would be needed. Of course, they can be paid with credit cards, for example with the Now 12 and Now 18 plans, despite the interest.
For those who already have CNG equipment installed, they should pay attention to two questions. The first, the annual renewal of the chip, because if it hadn’t been updated, they wouldn’t be able to load this type of fuel at any service station.
The procedure costs about 2,000 pesos in specialized workshops. But also, every 5 years, the hydraulic test corresponds to the equipment, with a review of the tube, the cost of which is about 4000 pesos. The new chip is also included in this last value. In addition to the fact that it is a big investment, another fact to consider is that during 2020 the cost of equipment has increased by 40%, according to specialist workshops. This is partly due to the fact that they have some imported components, affected by the increase in the dollar. In any case, in the sector they say that they have no problems supplying components and that there is equipment available for those who wish to take the step.
In San Juan, according to Enargas data, a total of 35,627 vehicles with certified CNG equipment were registered in February. Whoever fails to install at an approved workshop will not be able to acquire the chip later, and therefore will not be allowed to load at any service station.
CNG is always an attractive fuel for those who build a car for great kilometers per year. When analyzing the data, it should be borne in mind that m3 of CNG costs, on average in San Juan, about 33.50 pesos, when m3 at the beginning of the year was about 30 pesos. You can definitely get a few more or less pennies at some gas stations. But with today’s recent increase in fuels, Super Naphtha YPF, the reference market value, remained at 87 pesos and infinite 101.80 pesos.
The start of classes and the greater need to travel, both from parents attending their children and the teachers themselves, was so fundamental that since March there has been greater vehicle movement in general that has had an impact, for example, on city kindergartens. Activity has grown so much these days that there is talk in the sector of a similar movement at the beginning of last year, before the pandemic began. Analía Salguero, from the fuel dispensers room, said that with the start of the seasons, higher sales were noticed due to the car’s larger movement, and said it was already at levels similar to activity before last year’s crisis. The controlled parking system (Eco) is also back to pre-pandemic levels.