Fuel consumption declines
Saturday, 02 August 2008

CNG use could avert consequences of dirty oil trade

Consumption of high prices octane and petrol has reportedly halved since the recent hike in retail prices. The reasons are: high prices and conversion to compressed natural gas We can now reasonably hope that with this downswing in consumption and the hike in prices BPC''s losses would come down to a minimum and, keeping with the international price fluctuations, it would be able to cut prices also. After the recent 35 per cent hike in fuel prices BPC''s losses were expected to come down from Tk 17,000 crores to Tk 10,000 crores. Now this reduced consumption may take BPC closer to breaking even. Fuel and energy management has badly suffered due to inept handling and corruption. For the dishonest this sector was the milch cow with the top leadership unable to control the greed of their party men. Whether its electricity or petroleum mismanagement and corruption have not only caused sufferings to the people but have also adversely affected the country''s economic development. Gas is our own wealth whereas petroleum products are imported with cash foreign exchange. There could have been incentives like installments or even small subsidy in case of conversions. That would have kept the wheels moving without the government spending the hard earned foreign exchange or even borrowing for multilateral lending agencies. Moreover, there has never been any control over import of cars. This is rather shocking.. We cannot set up a new electricity plant for want of money but we continue to import cars that would need imported oil to run. The ministry must set up more CNG stations so that car owners do not have to waste hours every day for filling up the tanks. The long lines before CNG stations are living testimonies of our inefficiency or indifference. The conspiracies in international oil trade are beyond our control. At a time when people are groaning under high prices of fuel just look at the balance sheets of the oil giants. They are raking in extra billions every quarter. Analysing this peculiarity would perhaps reveal the dirty games behind oil prices jumping more than 100 per cent in just one year.

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