Argentina leads the way in converting cars to natural gas

Murray, Utah – paying equivalent of 63.8¢ per gallon

More vehicles run on natural gas in Argentina than anywhere else in the world, and that success is attracting a burst of interest from the US, where a big push is under way to convert buses, taxis and cars to natural gas.

Representatives of American companies are flocking to Argentina to buy natural-gas compressors, conversion kits and fuel tanks to sell in the US, said Alessandro Carlo. Others from the US are heading south to gain technical know-how. “We have someone visiting from the US every week,” Carlo said. “We’re the pioneers.”

Many drivers in the US are clamoring to fill up with natural gas because it’s about $1.50 cheaper a gallon on average than gasoline, according to industry figures.

Others favour natural gas because it produces about 20 percent less greenhouse emissions. And some see natural gas as a way to reduce US dependency on imported oil…

Today, about 1.7 million vehicles run on natural gas in Argentina, or about 15 percent of all Argentine vehicles. By contrast, less than 1 percent of vehicles in the US run on natural gas.

Other countries worldwide are converting to natural gas at a much faster rate, led by Pakistan and Brazil. South America, Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru are also making major pushes.

“It’s worked out great,” said Silvestre Prado, a Lima taxi driver. He paid $1,500 to convert his car and figures that he’ll recoup the investment in 18 months through fuel savings.

Sounds like the process of adopting broadband Web access. Pretty soon, the United States will be bottom of the Top Twenty.

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