By Chito A. Chavez
The continued increase in oil prices has become a national concern affecting millions of Filipinos, the Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon (KAPIT) said as it called on the Duterte administration to push for Bio-Ethanol powered Jeepneys (BEEPS) using the substitute fuel as viable and environment-friendly alternative.
The Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers said their daily income has dwindled continuously through the years due to the steady rise in petroleum prices. products. From just P20 per liter, diesel has increased in price in less than a year to P32 per liter and, with excise tax being applied, diesel will probably hit P38 to P39 per lite, KAPIT said.
“Fossil fuels like diesel and gasoline, have limited supply. Eventually these will run out. When supply becomes scarce, the price will hit the roof,”: it said.
Vigor Mendoza, KAPIT chairman, said the country is in the midst of modernization and new technology should be good for the next 10 to 15 years.
Ethanol fuel comes from plants, like sugar, corn, and cassava, he said. “It is renewable and promotes zero pollution. It also supports the country’s energy security program as we become less dependent on imported fuels. With ethanol, operators can shift to air-conditioned vehicles, which electric vehicles at the moment cannot do efficiently.
Mendoza added that with ethanol-powered air-con vehicles, fare pricing is 20 percent higher compared to non-aircon jeepneys. The jeepney drivers would have added income of P1,000 to P1,200 per day, he said.
“This is more than enough to off-set the higher cost of ethanol fuel which is estimated at P53 per liter. At this price, the average jeepney fuel cost will increase by P560 per day. But due to the increased income, there will still be a net gain of P440 to P640 per day,’’ he added.