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People lose interest in using Vehicular Natural Gas

SANTO DOMINGO. The great interest that sprang up for Vehicular Natural Gas (VNG) at the beginning of 2010, which grew throughout 2011 and 2012 as a result of an effort between the public and private sectors, has fallen to such a point that there are workshops that have not done an installation in more than three months.

The statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC) indicate that in 2010 natural gas equipment was installed in 446 vehicles; in 2011 the conversions totaled 2764; in 2012 they overflowed and reached 6051; in 2013 they numbered 3764 and in 2014 the number descended to 2235.

The low interest by the owners of vehicles for the natural gas equipment has been so strong that the official numbers show that during the first quarter of 2015 they had only carried out 81 conversions to VNG.

In addition, other evidence of the lack of interest by the people for the use of natural gas in their vehicles, is that the workshops consulted, those which are authorized by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to carry out the conversions, said that it has been a long time since they have installed natural gas equipment, and on the other hand, that some clients that come in to have them taken out.

“Of those that they (MIC) have registered with the installations, at least 3000 have probably had the equipment removed,” said the manager of the RN Autogas workshop, Carlos Malon Nuñez, as he talked about the number of vehicles which have made the conversion.

According to the statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce there are 15,341 vehicles with natural gas.

Malon Nuñez said that in his workshop they had to take out loans in order to satisfy the requirements of the MIC in order to do the natural gas installations, and now they don’t know what they’re going to do because they are losing money because of the reduction of their sales.

“We’re not doing any installations, for three months I have not done a single installation of natural gas and the people are returning to LPG, the LPG is the only thing that we are installing here,” he said.

Likewise, the manager of F & F Autogas, Fanny Gutierrez, indicated that in that workshop for some time installations of natural gas equipment have been zero.

She said that in order for the people to return and be interested in natural gas, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has to get the price back to RD$18.50 per cubic meter, because that was the cost at which it was offered in the beginning to the clients as an incentive.

“Since we have a large amount of equipment in our warehouse and we are not doing any conversions, we had to lower the price, and no matter what, they are not selling. Which is to say, that the problem is not the price of the equipment, but rather the price of the fuel,” said Gutierrez to Diario Libre.

In 2012 natural gas equipment of the fifth generation sold between RD$65,000 and RD$80,000, and at the present time they cost around RD$50,000 and RD$55,000 and they are not selling.

Some drivers consulted by Diario Libre, who use natural gas, said that this fuel still has advantages over the others, but that by comparing the sales price of RD$35.67 which it had last December, with the initial cost of RD$18.50, which, according to some versions, they said would be stable for more than 10 years, it is evident that they have lost competitiveness.

Taxi drivers of different companies that use Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) in their vehicles, said that they have never had natural gas and they are not interested, because they have seen that some of their companions who have installed the systems of VNG have already had them taken out because they are not feasible. “I believe that if they were to gave me natural gas equipment, I would not install it,” said taxi driver Merlin Molina, who is based in the area of Miraflores, after offering several arguments.

“VNG will continue being competitive”

The person in charge of Non-Conventional Energy at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC), Salvador Rivas, reported that there are 28 stations for VNG in the country. They are distributed in the capital, in the East and in the Cibao, and there are 42 authorized installers.

He added that in the next few months they will open a VNG station In Bani and another one in Azua for which the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has already granted the permits.

The official exhorted those who use the gas and those interested in using it to trust in the benefits that natural gas offers because it is a fuel which will continue being competitive in the Dominican Republic.

“It is a market which has stability, look at the fact that the prices have gone down and it is not expected that they will go up. They do not go up quickly either, the government supports this fuel,” he assured the reporters.

Source: DiarioLibre

July 2, 2015

Category: DR News |

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