US instructing Israel on gas-powered vehicles

gas fuelled bus

The Alternative Fuels Administration says half of Israel's vehicles could be gas-powered within a decade.

The Israel Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources is cooperating in the field of natural gas. A US delegation today arrived in Israel to take part in a two-day workshop in which the US guests will teach key personnel in Israel how to integrate compressed natural gas (CNG) in the energy sector, especially in public transportation. Topics to be covered include how CNG is used around the world, safety, and regulation needed for CNG and its use in buses.

The Chief Scientist and the Israel Natural Gas Authority in the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources initiated the workshop, with participation from representatives from the ministry, the Prime Minister's Office Alternative Fuels Administration, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Environmental Protection hazardous substances, the Israel Fire and Rescue Services, the Home Front Command, the Israel Police, the Standards Institution of Israel, holders of licenses to distribute natural gas, and fuel companies.

The use of natural gas in public transportation is becoming more and more popular worldwide, due to the lower price of gas in comparison with diesel fuel, the lower amount of pollution it produces, and its status as a substitute for oil produced mainly by OPEC cartel countries.

As soon as large quantities of natural gas were discovered in the Tamar and Leviathan reservoirs, the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources commissioned a comprehensive study from the Pareto group to consider the possible integration of natural gas in the public transportation system in Israel. The Tzemach Committee, which formulated government policy on the development of the natural gas sector and natural gas exports, and the Alternative Fuels Administration prepared their own analysis of the penetration of natural gas-powered vehicles in Israel.

The Tzemach Committee predicted that one third of private vehicles and two thirds of public vehicles would be converted to natural gas by 2040, and that consumption of natural gas in transportation would reach 40 BCM. The Alternative Fuels Administration argued in its own study that assimilation of gas-powered vehicles could begin as early as 2014-2015, and 50% penetration could be achieved within a decade.

As of now, however, there is still not a single gas-powered vehicle in Israel. According to the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources, one of the main reasons for the delay in integrating natural gas in transportation is the delay in arranging processes for granting permits for installing consumer gas facilities, particularly refueling stations. A chicken and the egg problem has emerged: the number of gas-powered vehicles cannot be expected to grow if there are no refueling stations, and it is not economically viable to deploy refueling stations on a large scale without vehicles. This is not the only problem, however. Gas economy sources assert that the main obstacle, from which the other obstacles are derived, is the lack of a policy on the taxes to be levied on gas-powered vehicles. Without certainty about taxes, no one is in any rush to buy a gas-powered vehicle.

Exporting gas to Egypt is well-nigh impossible, and Israel must therefore increase its consumption for the sake of increasing demand for gas in the domestic market, as argued by almost all the energy experts consulted. Increasing demand will help in the first stage of Leviathan's development, even if only slightly. "This is an opportunity to do it," the National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources claimed today. "The ministry has set a goal of increasing the demand for natural gas in all sectors - electricity, industry, and transportation - and is making efforts to complete all the arrangements necessary for this."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 9, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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gas fuelled bus
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