There is rising demand for vehicle conversions from using petrol and diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG), especially in Dar es Salaam.
This is indeed a very welcome development for numerous reasons and factors.
Vehicles powered by natural gas, so experts say, are slightly cleaner than those using either petrol or diesel, they make less noise and produce less odour.
Use of CNG is more economical compared to petrol and diesel as natural gas costs a lot less than the two fuel types.
For instance, experts at the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) explained that a kilogramme of CNG currently costs Sh1,500, while a litre of petrol in Dar es Salaam costs Sh3,148.
They added that a kilogramme of natural gas covers more travel distance (20 kilometres on average), while a litre of gasoline covers an average of 12 kilometres.
Meanwhile, vehicles powered by CNG are said to perform better than those using petrol and diesel.
Even through natural gas is also a nonrenewable resource, and does pollute the environment, it is safer than both petrol and diesel for the planet because natural gas sends 25 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Experts note that the added advantage of regular natural gas system maintenance is that it removes the dangers of carbon monoxide build-up.
The challenge is that Tanzania currently has a few workshops specialising in CNG conversion. DIT is the biggest workshop, with two smaller privately-run workshops in Dar es Salaam.
Similarly, CNG refuelling is carried out at only two points in Dar es Salaam, namely Ubungo and Tazara.
This means that, given rising demand for the services, there is a huge opportunity for investment.
We call upon potential investors to seize the opportunity to make the services both more readily available and cost-effective.
An average car costs about Sh2 million to convert to CNG use. With more service providers, this cost could be halved so that more vehicles are powered by natural gas.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS VERY REAL
Climate change is now a stark reality whose impact is being felt across the globe. Experts say things can only get worse if the world does not act in unison to address global warming, particularly its causative factors, which are well known.
The world has in the past decade or so borne the brunt of extreme weather. Some parts of the United States, where former President Donald Trump dismissed global warming as a hoax meant to undermine America’s economic might, have in recent years suffered cold snaps, with some cities experiencing the lowest temperatures ever recorded – as low as -50 degrees Celsius.
Developing countries such as Tanzania have contributed negligibly to global warming, but they too are feeling the effects of climate change. Some parts of the country, including the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam, have for the past few months been experiencing heavy unseasonal rains after having little or no rainfall during what was supposed to be the rainy season.
Global warming is no laughing matter. It should be addressed as a matter of urgency for the sake of present and future generations.