LPG 'to save taxi drivers $100 daily'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 February, 2000, 12:00am

Taxi drivers can expect to save up to $100 a day by using environmentally friendly filling stations to be built by the end of this year, it was claimed yesterday.

Officials predict the new stations will lead to 7,000 taxis switching to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) this year, ahead of the official plan to replace all diesel taxis by 2006.

A deal was signed between the Government and two fuel companies yesterday to create five dedicated LPG filling stations as a part of the policy to turn transport green.

The first of the 21-year contracts, with two stations in Chai Wan and West Kowloon providing a total of 48 dispensing nozzles, was awarded to Towngas LPG. China Resources Petrochems (Group) took the second contract, which will provide 60 nozzles at three stations at Sheung Wan, Kwun Tong and Tai Po.

Prices will be adjusted twice yearly according to import costs and once a year in line with movements in the Government's composite consumer price index.

Towngas promised to offer an initial maximum price of $2.04 per litre and China Resources Petrochems $2.01 per litre, both until January 31, 2002.

Assistant Director of Environmental Protection Tse Chin-wan said the prices were attractive.

'On average, a taxi can save up to $100 a day, and on top of that the Government is planning to subsidise drivers switching to use LPG,' he said.

'The result could be that up to 7,000 taxis would switch to LPG this year.' Deputy Secretary for the Environment and Food Kim Salkeld said this was the first step in the battle against poor air quality.

'The strategy of this programme is to encourage people to switch to LPG sooner rather than later,' Mr Salkeld said.

'We want to see an improvement in our environment sooner.' As well as the five LPG stations to be established this year, one more is already under construction and it is expected to be finished in May.

Together with other deals in the pipeline and the existing four stations, a total of 16 LPG stations with a capacity to handle up to 7,000 taxis could be operating by December.