Egypt will grant licenses to new vehicles only if they can operate on the bi-fuel system, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced during the inauguration of a housing project in Cairo. “New gasoline vehicles will not be licensed, unless they can also operate on natural gas,” he said, explaining that the move aims to preserve the environment and make use of the country’s plentiful natural gas production.
The country has adopted a plan to expand the use of natural gas as vehicle fuel and encourage motorists to convert their cars to the bi-fuel system, which can run on both natural gas and gasoline. 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, reported Ahram Online.
Egypt is also planning to replace as many as 1.3 million old private cars and 50,000 taxis manufactured over 20 years ago, as well as convert hundreds of thousands of other vehicles to natural gas models at a total estimated cost of $20 billion, Trade and Industry Minister Nevine Gamea said at the same event. The plan is aimed at reducing fuel imports, lowering pollution from harmful emissions, ensuring the safety of drivers and passengers and making use of unexploited auto factories.
Under the scheme, 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, Gamea added. A total of 366 CNG fueling stations are planned to be set up nationwide under the plan.
El-Sisi also said the government will offer the owners of obsolete cars, whether private cars, taxicabs or microbuses, financing programs to convert their vehicles to operate on natural gas, which should halve their expenses. “To those who have rickety cars that are 25 years old and cost hefty expenses, either for repair or fuel, we can help you obtain a loan at the lowest possible cost,” he added, calling on authorities to offer the owners of obsolete car low-interest loans.