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Hurdles to natural gas vehicles

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Hurdles to natural gas vehicles

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Courtesy Garage Limited has not given up on its drive to increase the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in Barbados.
However, progress has been hampered due to a number of challenges – including the high cost associated with setting up refuelling stations at strategic locations.
“We started the natural gas project a few years ago. One of the things we have been looking at is the need to have a proper refuelling system, but it is a very expensive venture,” said regional product manager Samuel Gaston.
“The last check that we did a few years ago revealed that the cost to establish one of those was somewhere around $1 million,” he told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.
“If you are going to [invest] $1 million in putting up a refuelling station, you have to have the cars to support it. And not all manufacturers supply those vehicles – that is a challenge for us as well, and for a small market like ours.”
Besides Courtesy, two other local car dealers could supply those types of vehicles. Last year Gaston told members of the media that Courtesy would begin negotiations with a new vehicle manufacturer to import more and larger CNG vehicles into Barbados.
He said those negotiations were still ongoing, pointing out that most CNG vehicles were not cheap because they usually had 1 800 cubic-centimetre engines that are at the higher end of the duty scale.
“But we will be pressing ahead with the project. If we can come up with a strategic system of refuelling, then it could work. A number of people have expressed interest in those types of vehicles but the lack of refuelling capacity is hampering the project going forward in a more meaningful way,” he said, adding that the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) had expressed interest in acquiring CNG trucks.
Efforts to get the Natural Petroleum Corporation of Barbados’ perspective on the matter were futile. (MM)