CNG vehicle operators demand fuel price cut amid falling petrol costs

Photo: Bangkok Post

Transport operators providing services with compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles are pushing for a price cut in fuel from the government following a decrease in diesel and petrol prices, inclusive of a recent 2.5 baht per litre drop for Gasohol 91.

A group of operators, including those of passenger vans, congregated in front of the Energy Ministry yesterday, November 2, to deliver a petition to Energy Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, urging him to reduce the CNG price to 12.74 baht from the current 18.59 baht per kilogramme.

According to Panya Lertngim, president of the Passenger Van Operators Association, the CNG vehicle operators are yet to fully bounce back from the blow dealt by the pandemic and the accompanying stringent lockdown measures and are grappling with a decrease in passengers who have opted for electric trains.

He disclosed that the number of daily passengers has dwindled significantly during the pandemic from the usual 100,000, leading to half of the 2,000 operators that run services between central Bangkok and its suburbs having to halt their operations. They are opposed to the government’s plans to hike the CNG price to 20.59 baht per kilogramme on December 16.

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In response, Minister Pirapan pledged to establish a working panel to scrutinise the issue of CNG pricing. Authorities resolved to slash the gasohol 91 price by an additional 1.5 baht per litre, subsidised by the state Oil Fuel Fund, effective from November 7. This follows an earlier one-baht reduction, culminating in a total cut of 2.5 baht per litre.

Prasert Sinsukprasert, energy permanent secretary, acknowledged that the decision burdens the already loss-making fund. However, he maintained that the fund can sustain the price subsidy, thanks to a newly granted loan to bolster its liquidity.

Energy expenditure

Prasert affirmed that the price cut aligns with the Cabinet’s resolution to aid in reducing energy expenditure for the public, with the new prices being effective until January 31 of the coming year reported Bangkok Post.

As of October 29, the fund reported a staggering loss of 74.2 billion baht, attributed to subsidies spent on diesel and liquefied petroleum gas, amounting to 28.9 billion baht and 45.3 billion baht respectively.

Other types of petrol and gasohol have also seen different rates of reduction. For instance, gasohol E20 and gasohol E85 witnessed their prices fall by 0.8 baht a litre, while the cost of unleaded petrol 95 decreased by one baht a litre.

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