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Thailand Sets Biodiesel Consumption Targets

TNA. The Thai Energy Ministry has set a revised biodiesel consumption target for the country of 500,000 liters (132,000 gallons US) per day for 2007, increasing to 4 million liters (1.06 million gallons US) per day by the end of 2011. That would offset as much as 7% of diesel consumption.

The projected reduction in diesel consumption, combined with the use of ethanol and natural gas for vehicles, could help the country save around 18% on consumption of petroleum-based motor fuels, according to the Ministry.

giPTT Pcl. and Bang Chak Petroleum Pcl. will establish more than 300 service stations for biodiesel distribution countrywide.

The Ministry is also considering using the state oil fund to help lower the retail price of biodiesel at service stations by more than 50 satang (0.5 baht, or about US$0.015) per liter against diesel price in order to encourage more motorists to switch. The new prices will be jointly fixed by oil trading firms, biodiesel manufacturing companies and the Ministry of Energy.



If all you get is 7% reduction diesel consumption, could you not just work on efficeincy.

It has to be possible to get a 7% increase in efficiency without too much trouble. A little fuel tax + a campaign on how to drive less aggressively might help.

By all means do the biofuels as well, but go for efficiency first.

Rafael Seidl

Mahonj -

I completely agree, conservation *ought* to be the primary strategy. However, as elsewhere, Thailand has business tycoons with political connections that are interested in making money off this. Note that Thailand is run by the army right now.

I expect fuel tax hikes, vehicle license fee hikes, congestion charges and government campaigns to improve driving styles would all be just as unpopular/ ineffective in Thailand as anywhere else. This does not make them bad ideas, just hard to implement - all the more so given the near-permanent traffic jams in Thailand's major cities. The only way car owners might be prepared to pay more is if the incremental revenue were used to fund mass transit infrastructure (e.g. subways) in the most congested areas.

Fuel-saving engine technology will be adopted by Thailand and other emerging economies as and when they can afford it. The simplest strategy would be to provide incentives that raise the market share of modern turbodiesel engines in the new vehicle mix. It's just that this would aggravate an already serious air quality problem, unless expensive mitigation technology is mandated as well. Average Thai consumers can no more afford that than they can afford electric hybrids.


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