Egypt works to encourage green cars

Cairo hosts 25% of the Egyptian population who use 60% of all registered cars, according to Egypt's Ministry of Environment inspector Maged Boulos. [Waleed Abu al-Khair/Al-Shorfa]

Cairo hosts 25% of the Egyptian population who use 60% of all registered cars, according to Egypt's Ministry of Environment inspector Maged Boulos. [Waleed Abu al-Khair/Al-Shorfa]

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Egypt is moving to increase the number of cars that run on natural gas in a bid to alleviate domestic demand for diesel fuel and petrol and to reduce high rates of pollution in cities, particularly Cairo.

The government's move towards promoting the use of natural gas-powered cars began in the mid-1990s, said Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources advisor Radwan Fathallah.

Since then, the government has encouraged major establishments and companies to market natural gas-powered cars and invest in the natural gas fuel sector, he told Al-Shorfa.

"Increasing the number of natural gas-powered cars must be accompanied by a studied distribution of fuel stations that provide natural gas," he said. "There are currently 164 natural gas fuel stations owned by six companies, spread across 20 provinces, and work is on-going with various companies to open them in all provinces."

Currently, there are around 185,000 natural gas-powered vehicles registered with the government, about 75% of them taxis, he said.

All estimates point to the number of natural gas-powered cars surpassing 200,000 by the end of 2014, he said.

The ministry, in partnership with the Social Fund for Development, has allocated five million pounds ($714,000) to convert cars to natural gas usage, he said.

The government also offers a five-year tax exemption to companies that provide compressed natural gas for cars, as well as tariff reductions of up to 90% for imported equipment used for conversions, Fathallah said.

"Additionally, the fees imposed on converted cars are nominal, and very low-interest loans are extended to whoever wants to convert his car to natural gas usage, while imported cars manufactured as natural gas vehicles receive a 55% reduction on their tariff charges," he said.

Benefits of natural gas usage

Fathallah said increased natural gas usage would save the government money on petrol subsidies as well as ease the pressure on citizens, as the price of natural gas is about 25% lower than that of petrol.

At the governmental level, 200 public transport vehicles and 2,000 government cars have been converted to natural gas usage, and 50 passenger transport vehicles have been manufactured to use the fuel, he said.

The shortage in petrol and diesel on the market in past months spurred a number of people to convert their cars to natural gas usage, including Tamer Moneim, a bank employee in Cairo.

Moneim told Al-Shorfa he decided to convert his car at a time when petrol stations were constantly congested due to a shortage on the market and he began using taxis for transport instead.

"I noticed that many taxis run on natural gas in conjunction with petrol, and there was hardly any congestion at natural gas fuel stations compared to petrol stations," he said.

The conversion by a local company cost Moneim around 6,000 pounds ($857), and he later learned that he was entitled to recover part of the amount of the tariff he paid for the car.

He said now he saves almost 70% of what he used to pay for petrol for his car every month.

Environment friendly

Maged Boulos, an environmental pollution inspector at the Ministry of Environment, told Al-Shorfa that the use of natural gas in cars is one of the best ways to reduce damage to the environment caused by other fuels.

Natural gas is more environmentally-friendly than other fossil fuels, he said, and conversion to natural gas consumption would lower the pollution rate in Cairo in particular, which hosts 25% of the population who use 60% of all registered cars.

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    تاج الدين أكرم

    2014-5-4

    There is deeper and more spread corruption which leads to a great waste in wealth. It is thousand of time more dangerous than the first corruption, and that is the corruption of the people themselves. The corruption of the society and the corruption of citizens who spend their wealth mostly in inappropriate places such as feasts and funerals are overwhelming. As a result of this, billions of dollars of their wealth is wasted with no benefits. Thus the corruption of society is thousands of times worse that this corruption. Talking about this corruption and fighting against it is more vital than talking about the first corruption. Despite of all this, nobody talks about the social corruption. At the end I would like to ask Mr. Huwaidi to focus his attention of both of these corruptions; that is corruption inside houses and corruption at work places, both of which are quite overwhelming in Egypt. This has been mentioned by one of his students.

  • محمد الحربى

    2014-5-4

    Swear to God that this is a good project. I wait two years until the project is completed, then I will buy one car based on an instalment plan. I hope that they have no high tariffs and customs and their release is not expensive. I am not Egyptian, but I live in Egypt and want to use the best models of cars by any means. I do not like to harm the lovely Egypt and its environment, because I want the Egyptian people to be healthy.

  • فتاح نصيف

    2014-5-4

    We could look to the idea of cars that are powered by gas in Egypt, but not electric cars, please. The history of the electric car is a long and sad one.. and the truth is that the largest company, GM, manufactured a car, the EV1, which was successful in the late 1990s and it has proven its success, but the project was killed because of because of the introduction of hydrogen cells by the American government that later proved its failure.. for more, there is a documentary on ‘who killed the electric car’.

  • حمزة قاسم

    2014-5-4

    The government has to encourage such activities and take care of its citizens that are low-income earners instead of fighting them.. Move forward, Egypt, and what the future holds is going to be better by Allah’s permission, even though currently there are major crises, but it’s impossible for things to stay like that for ever, by Allah’s permission. Egyptian people, you are the ones that have built the pyramids, and you are the ones that persevere in the face of hardships, so have patience, as there is light at the end of every tunnel, by Allah’s permission.

  • فارس معتـز

    2014-5-4

    Extreme environmental repercussions on humans are the result of the fact that human treat the environment badly in terms of neglect and not caring about it, and their wrongful exploitation of forests all over the world, such as the forests in Indonesia, the Amazon basin and the African forests, and their pollution of the air and aquatic ecosystems in oceans and seas. And Allah knows best.

  • أيوب باهر

    2014-5-4

    Thank you for bringing up this important subject that rarely caught people's and researchers' attention in Egypt and the Arab World alike, in spite that Arab countries are largely responsible for a huge part of the high carbon footprint.

  • جيكا المصرى

    2014-5-4

    Cars are not the only factors which pollute the environment. O Egyptian people, take a look at the countless number of factories in Egypt. Then you will understand that these factories and especially the factories for petrochemicals are polluting the environment to a large extent. O Egyptian government, by God, you have been involved in simple affairs while you have left the main ones. This is your usual habit. You have destroyed the previous generations and, unfortunately, you will destroy the future generations as well, because there has already been no wise management in Egypt and all these affairs are harmful to the Egyptians' health. May God hear the Egyptian cries for help! If the Egyptian people had performed what they had wished for, today the condition of Egypt would have been better by far; but unfortunately, the Egyptians have to act according to the policies which were focused on the interests of strangers instead of the interests of the Egyptians. The governments and the leaders are those who will win the rewards of these affairs. Mubarak and his governments are the best examples. And to be fair to everyone, we should say everybody except those whom God has mercy on them.

  • مروان خورى

    2014-5-4

    All cars in Egypt are today cars that must scrapped and considered total loss. However, we unfortunately have many people with a dark conscience in Egypt and many people exist today who have no conscience. These people are the biggest reason for environmental pollution today in addition to owners of chemical factories that heavily pollute the environment and cause those who live next to them problems such as asthma and others. Therefore we must try today to issue prompt announcements on the immediate shut down of these factories.

  • على عمران

    2014-5-4

    Today, there is no agreement or unanimity among the Egyptian people. The Egyptian people have many conflicts among themselves. In other words, the gatherings of reconciliation between the Brotherhood and the Egyptian statesmen will most likely fail, although there are some people who are optimistic about their success.

  • مجاهد يحيى

    2014-5-4

    I think this is a big lie because there aren’t any environment-friendly cars; on the contrary, all of the cars that are made in Egypt and in the whole world today are cars that seriously ruin the environment. Only we need to protect the environment and make sure that modern cars are made at a level that suits the environment. We must have a certain body that will inspect cars once every period time and prevent any cars that might harm the environment, otherwise pollution will increase. We have the best example in Iran. Pollution in the capital has reached very high levels and we can imagine these environmental polluters could considerably harm a person’s health. We need to be environment-friendly today and not part of those who hurt the environment or are hurt by it.

  • أشرف حاسم

    2014-5-3

    In love for Egypt, "each one cries on his Laila". We all claim that we are proud of Egypt's love and no doubt we all love Egypt but as the poet said "Each one cries on his Laila". The love of the country is in the hearts and can be represented by the love of parents love, wife, sons and the love for life or all of them but the love of parents and also the way to express this love differs among the family members... Some love them congenitally, while others know their favour and obey them anyway. There are also people who lie, steal and kill them; some are at odds with them and the others love them... This is absolutely the love of the country where "each one cries on his Laila". By making a simple comparison between this love and another love such as China, Korea, India, Malaysia, Brazil and turkey, you will find that your love is different for another place or others who are in those places.

  • أديب باهر

    2014-5-3

    I do not know what is the exact problem in Egypt? Is it the problem of fuel, education, crowd, disease or what? Do you know this?

  • مروه سلطان

    2014-5-3

    The Egyptian state wants to get out of this difficult situation due to the lack of fuel including gasoline and diesel. I wonder if gas is the solution. Does Egypt have enough gas to solve this problem?

  • مريم الاحمدى

    2014-5-3

    First, gas stations must exist everywhere because many places do not have gas stations so the car owner will leave his car and search for anyone to give him a ride.

  • محمد ثامر

    2014-5-3

    The problem is that Egyptians are very afraid of having gas put into their cars, thinking it will constitute a time bomb. People’s awareness must first be raised regarding this step.

  • شادي قصي

    2014-5-3

    Gas is the cheapest alternative and environmentally friendly; oops! I forgot, but Israel should get the gas at a very low price from the nation.

  • أمجد ماضي

    2014-5-3

    Egypt is not going to save itself from the energy crisis and the pollution due to automobile emissions unless it was ruled by a powerful regime that would enforce a strict order. However, today, everything is going against the mainstream. I do not say so to support Al-Sisi in his quest to rule Egypt, but if anyone one appeared and managed to gather the Egyptians around him, then the Egyptians should elect him for the sake of the state. A state without a powerful regime will suffer from lack of power, gasoline, natural gas, electricity, etc... These problems can be solved easily if Egypt was ruled by a powerful regime that can solve such problems.

  • ميريهان مجدى

    2014-5-3

    Are the cars made in Egypt today environment-friendly? I strongly oppose that because the cars found in Egypt all run on petrol which is basically derived from oil and that is of course harmful to the environment. If Egypt distributed natural gas to all cars I think it would be very good to the environment and there would be a way out from the environmental crisis Egypt is going through, while the issue today isn’t likely to be changed. However, all cars must be given full opportunity to be equipped with natural gas tanks. This will be the most efficient and much better to the environment in Egypt.

  • عبد الله العمروسى

    2014-5-3

    The living conditions are very difficult in Egypt, let alone the environmentally friendly cars... we should start with ourselves and then we should return to the table of negotiation with the Islamist groups and the current government, especially as the country has been targeted and has confronted great dangers from abroad. We should protect our country from any dangers. The threat of terrorism is today coming from Hamas and Sinai, and Israel has lain in ambush for us.

  • نور حمدى

    2014-5-3

    The Egyptian environment has many pollutants, not only the vehicle emissions. Many factories produce poisonous gases and wastes that spread in the air. I also believe that this project may be very difficult for Egypt at the present time. The environmentally-friendly automobiles will mean that the Egyptians must replace their old cars with new ones. However, this is impossible within a year or two. This needs five years at least until this process is finished successfully. As for the factories, the state must impose the environmental conditions to close the non-compliant facilities.