Rising fuel prices can be countered by electric vehicles.
The term “fuel” is on everyone’s lips, particularly in cities where motorized transportation is the most frequent mode of transportation.
Rural regions, on the other hand, are not immune. Moving vegetables to cities must be difficult. Typically, vehicles that provide produce to metropolitan areas also deliver necessities to rural communities. Life must be difficult everywhere.
A liter of petrol was supposed to cost Shs 10,000 at certain Hoima gas stations. I believe this is the first time that petrol has cost as much as Shs 10,000 per liter since the 2007 Kenyan elections when supply lines to Uganda were shut down owing to post-election violence.
This time, however, the outcome is not violence after an election but rather our strategy to evaluate drivers for COVID-19. Truck drivers went on strike rather than pay what they saw as high prices.
On Monday this week in Kampala, in the district where I reside, a liter of petrol cost Shs 5,000, and many people didn’t even have it. People ended up paying Shs 5,190 for a liter of the premium variety at certain stations.
Premium fuels were the only ones on the market. Some stations in Gayaza were selling for Shs 7,500. Given the rising expense of transportation, several companies recommended their workers to work from home. Although the price increase has been put primarily on the drivers’ strike, petrol costs have been continuously rising, approaching the Shs 5,000-per-litre barrier.
Regardless of the strike, I anticipate a liter of fuel will cost Shs 5,000 or more by the end of 2022. The bulk of the 6.5 million gallons of petroleum sold in Uganda each day is utilized in automobiles. As a result, everything in the nation is more costly.
However, there are certain methods that may assist in addressing this issue. Electrified transportation, particularly in metropolitan areas, has the potential to reduce the cost of conducting business. This would need the installation of electric buses across the city. A bus may be charged for 300 kilometers for less than Shs 50,000.
In a metropolitan city like Kampala, the cost of operating a diesel bus over the same distance is over three times that of an electric bus.
Public transportation operators would really earn more money if they switched to electric vehicles. I’ve heard testimony from Kampala Boda Bodas who are transitioning to totally electric bikes.
They claim that utilizing electric bikes earns them Shs 11,000 more per day than traditional motorcycles. That is when there isn’t even a single government incentive to utilize cleaner, less expensive bikes.
What if there were some kind of incentive? How many public transportation companies would use electric vehicles?
Many of us would give up our own automobiles, which are expensive to run if enough dependable public busses were deployed throughout greater Kampala. Furthermore, most private automobiles transport two passengers on average and remain parked for most of the day.
As we have shown with Kiira Motors, these buses can be locally made here, not only easing the country’s transportation crisis in metropolitan areas but also generating millions of employment.
In addition to public transportation, the government should provide incentives for individuals to purchase electric and hybrid automobiles. Such incentives should take the form of reduced import duties and other levies, allowing us to import fewer internal combustion cars, which not only raise the cost of conducting business but also harm the environment.
Kampala has been named one of the world’s most polluted cities. This is because we rely on very outdated automobiles in a crowded metropolis. Incentives for charging infrastructures, like tax breaks for gas stations, hotels, and shopping malls that install auto chargers, would subsequently be granted.
More incentives might be offered to school shuttles and businesses that carry students and employees in electric buses, respectively. Companies may be encouraged to employ electric cars for city transportation as well.
The government may do the same for automobiles primarily utilized for municipal transportation. Following that, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development would implement an electric car rate comparable to the recently implemented cooking tariff. You spend less money on power while charging your car. Given our generating capacity, the cost of energy should fall as fuel costs increase.
Many families in Greater Kampala now devote a significant portion of their budgets to transportation. Cars are costly to acquire and maintain, and much more so to fuel on a daily basis.
Saving money on transportation would increase family income, allowing for additional expenditure in other areas. This is how economies develop.