Natural gas fill-ups a problem
NATURAL GAS VEHICLES ARE a “good alternative” for Barbados, but the fuel’s availability and distribution limit expansion beyond the ten vehicles currently in use.
This is according to Courtesy Garage Limited senior general manager Nicholas Mackie.
Courtesy was the first company in Barbados to introduce alternate energy vehicles using local compressed natural gas.
Nissan natural gas vehicles were introduced in 2007 under a pilot project that includes several Government and private sector agencies.
Mackie told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that “natural gas is the ideal fuel because it is locally produced and Barbados is self-sufficient”.
While he noted that it works “very nicely in cars,” he said one of the biggest challenges that had restricted expansion was the ability to purchase the fuel.
“There are not very many refuelling points in Barbados but I’m quite sure that is being addressed.
“Natural gas for us, we think, is a good alternative but distribution of fuel is going to be an issue,” he said.
Mackie noted that participating departments and companies had seen the economic benefits of the vehicles.
“They want to get more vehicles. They are very happy with the performance,” he said.
The manager noted that while it has been suggested that the country use solar-powered vehicles, these “cost a lot more to initially purchase – and to see the economic benefits of those, you have to amortize the costs over a long period of time”.
On the other hand, he said natural gas vehicles “on the commercial side” are pretty much the same price as diesel vehicles and fuel savings are significant.
National Petroleum Corporation general manager James Browne said there are currently five refuelling points on the island. (NB)