Cairo: Egypt is seeking to replace cars older than 20 years that are still in service and encourage the use of gas-powered vehicles to protect the environment and improve air quality.
“In light of adequate gas supplies after recent discoveries in Egypt, there is a tendency towards using natural gas instead of petrol, a shift that will result in savings and protecting the environment,” Minister of Trade and Industry Neevin Jama told private Egyptian TV station Extra News on Monday.
“For example, if the petrol costs 4,000 Egyptian pounds (Dh923), the cost will drop to 2,000 only,” she argued.
The cost of converting the petrol-fired car to the gas ranges from LE9,000 to LE12,000 that will be paid in instalments, the minister said.
Egypt has already set up 190 gas stations in different parts of the nation. Some 366 others are in the pipeline, the minister said.
On Sunday, President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi said that new cars will be licensed only if they use gas in order to protect the environment and promote the state resources.
“When we say that we will not license any new car unless it is powered by gas, this is our right as the state authority responsible for regulating its people’s affairs,” Al Sissi said in televised remarks.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry will cooperate with the Interior Ministry to list the numbers of cars older than 20 years that are still in service such as the taxis and microbuses used by the majority of Egyptians, according to Jama.
Owners of such vehicles are encouraged to hand over them and apply for an interest-zero loan to buy new ones.
“We initially thought of offering the loan in return for a small interest rate, but President Al Sissi said there should be no interest. We have approached car factories and they are able to meet the demands,” she said.
In recent years, Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country of about 100 million, has built a large network of roads to curb road crashes, ease traffic congestion and attract foreign investment.