The energy sector serves as the backbone of an economy. The availability of cheap fuel for the citizens is one of the many factors which ensure that a country is all set on the road to prosperity. In Pakistan CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) is a popular choice of the consumer as an alternate energy resource for being cheaper as compared to petrol. But, CNG has not remained that much affordable for the citizens due to few policies which are making people pay a heavy price and depriving them of cheap fuel options.
Deregulation of CNG Prices Doesn’t Make It Cheaper Fuel
CNG stations owners in Pakistan are free to set the prices of compressed natural gas as the government has deregulated its prices since December 2016 and OGRA (Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority) has no role in setting the rates. Consequently, consumers are paying high prices that satisfy the whims of gas station owners. The case of CNG price hike in Karachi in May 2018 is one example. At times of deregulation, the CNG price in Karachi was Rs 66.27 per liter which rose to Rs 87.70 in May 2014, with an increase of PKR 21.43.
Discouraging Factory-Fitted CNG Kits
From the early years of last decade, manufacturers like Pak Suzuki were rolling out vehicles with pre-fitted CNG kits. The company stopped making cars with pre-installed CNG Kits by July 2017 as the cars were no more in demand due to a shortage of CNG supply. Due to this reason customers were bound to use mechanic fitted CNG kits, which according to experts are inefficient. Further, such kits make CNG a less affordable fuel as an investment in them adds to the costs reducing the price difference between petroleum and CNG to only 20%.
Unavailability of CNG kits in Pakistan
Pakistan also imports CNG kits from foreign companies mainly from Italy, Singapore, and Germany. Despite the willingness of these companies to export EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) compatible kits in Pakistan, the high import duty of 35% makes it difficult. Further, it also increases the costs for end users.
Selling CNG in Liters Instead of KG
Many customers also raise objections that CNG in Pakistan is sold in liters which is the unit of volume rather than in KGs which is unit of mass, which is an inefficient measure and might make customers pay more for a less quantity. So, there is another factor which makes a cheap fuel.
What Public Needs to Know about Cheap Fuel
CNG is an economical alternative to petrol, particularly in the present days when the prices of petroleum are increasing in the international market. Therefore, customers who directly or indirectly have to pay for the cost of expensive fuel need to ask the government for regulating CNG prices in Pakistan and allow automobile manufacturers to roll out CNG-fitted cars.
The government should also take viable steps to introduce a system that checks the safety of cars with CNG kits in them. Authorities in Pakistan must make arrangements to provide cheap fuel to the citizens and bring regulations to introduce alternative and sustainable options like electricity-powered vehicles.