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Bi-fuel system conversion focused on microbuses and taxis: Trade minister

Ahram Online , Monday 17 Aug 2020
Gas station in Cairo

Egypt's strategy to convert vehicles to run on a dual fuel system, natural gas and gasoline, is mainly focused on microbuses and taxis that were either manufactured over 20 years ago or run on gasoline, Minister of Trade and Industry Niveen Gamea said.

Egypt plans to replace old cars manufactured over 20 years ago and convert hundreds of thousands of other vehicles to gas-powered models to preserve the environment and make use of the country’s plentiful natural gas production.

A three-year financing programme at a cost of EGP 1,2 billion has been allocated to finance the conversion of cars to run on a dual fuel system, the minister told the House of Representatives on Monday.

Gamea said each vehicle will be converted with a total cost ranging EGP 8,000 and EGP 12,000 (approximately $500 to $750), adding that the cost could be funded by small-interest loans through the centres of Cargas and Gastech in accordance with an agreement with the petroleum ministry.

The first phase of the replacement strategy will kick off in seven governorates that are equipped with adequate infrastructures to go ahead with the replacement process.

The initiative is aiming to improve the Egyptian citizen's lifestyle, support the national industry, and tap into the recent natural gas discoveries in Egypt, Gamea stressed.

It also targets improving modes of transportations, helps people buy new cars at affordable prices, and makes use of the "unexploited capabilities" of auto factories.

Converting cars to run on bi-fuel system will reduce pollution and harmful emissions and contribute to alleviating the burden on the state's budget by decreasing the consumption of fuel.

She added that the trade, finance and local development ministries agreed to set up a joint mechanism to scrape the old cars that run on gasoline and allocate yards for them.

A government committee has finalised the specifications for the manufacturing of this type of cars, which will be implemented by private sector companies, she pointed out.

Egypt is aiming to rely more on cheaper, cleaner energy sources and to increase the amount of power generated from renewables to 20 percent by 2022 and 42 percent by 2035.

The government aims to convert 147,000 gasoline-powered taxis and microbuses to natural gas over three years and replace another 240,000 diesel-powered microbuses with new natural gas vehicles over four years.

Over the past six years, 118,000 vehicles have been converted to the bi-fuel system, bringing the total number of converted vehicles in the country to 322,000, the oil ministry said last month.

In July, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Egypt will license new vehicles in August only if they can operate on the bi-fuel system.

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