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Saigon to Get 800 More Green-Energy Buses by End of Year

Ho Chi Minh City aims to add 800 more green-energy buses to the streets this year, but officials are worried that the plan may fall through.

In a bid to make the city's vehicle fleet more eco-friendly, Saigon is planning to expand routes for buses running on compressed natural gas (CNG) by the end of 2017, reports Phap Luat.

As part of the scheme, the city People's Committee has requested PV Gas South to build nine more gas-filling stations and to maintain gas prices at 60% of diesel oil.

But, according to the Department of Transport, PV Gas South has increased gas prices by 6% this year, with an eye towards regular increments in the future. The company has also halted construction of the CNG stations while asking the city to help with land procurement and price subsidies.

Municipal authorities are concerned that the energy provider's stance will slow down implementation of the scheme. Investors of CNG buses, on the other hand, see the demands as a consequence of PV Gas South's monopoly in the natural gas market.

"Were the market open to other domestic and foreign investors, we would instantly have more gas stations and cheaper gas prices," an investor told the news source.  

An 80-seat CNG bus costs investors VND2.75 billion (US$121 million), three times the price of a regular diesel bus. Officials argue that the efficiency of green vehicles can offset the high initial cost, citing the fact that the 256 CNG currently running on several fare-subsidized routes have emitted 14 tons less of harmful exhaust than normal buses while carrying more passengers each year.

[Photo via PV Gas]


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