The Federal Government of Colombia has declared its intention to continue to promote the uptake of compressed natural gas (CNG) and has announced measures to facilitate that process, reports el universal. Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Tomás González said, “Where it is economically sensible to use CNG, it will be used. It’s important to have CNG in public transport to have a reduced reliance on liquid fuels, and reduced vulnerability to subsidies.”
González added, “what we have to do is improve formalities for the importation of CNG-powered vehicles, plus a clear pricing policy so that prices are competitive”, alluding to the current subsidy system that provides for low-price liquid fuels.
The Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy also announced the formation of the Liquid Fuels Commission, which would begin operations in the first quarter of 2012, with one of its tasks being to ensure that all fuels are priced competitively.
The statements by the Deputy Minister were apparently in accord with requests from gas industry spokespeople at the recent Naturgas Congress in Cartagena, where demands were placed before the Government to issue a formal policy to encourage the use of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in the country’s large integrated transport systems. “Despite the huge tax benefits and environmental health benefits received by the country, the use of natural gas in passenger and freight vehicles has not been a public policy”, said Eduardo Pizano de Narvaez, president of Naturgas.
Santiago Mejia, Director of Creación de Demanda de Gazel, called for local and national governments to provide incentives to replace part of the diesel vehicle fleet with NGVs, as this would benefit public health and also transporters and users.
According to soon-to-be-released NGV Global statistics, Colombia had 340,000 natural gas vehicles at the end of 2010, a 13% increase over 2009. There are also 614 service stations at the end of 2010, a massive increase of almost 40% over 2009.