25 April - 1 May 2001

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AD appeals for importation of cleaner fuel

| Alternattiva Demokratika in a statement has appealed to the Government to authorise the importation Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) fuel for use in Malta. LPG is so far the only proven safe, abundant and publicly affordable green fuel alternative to petrol available today.

Michael Briguglio, Public Relations Officer of the Green Party said in Malta and Gozo many cases of respiratory disease, asthma and cancer are being directly caused or aggravated by the excessive amounts of automotive exhaust and pollution in the islands.

Mr Briguglio explains, "The government is therefore morally responsible to confront this precarious situation. One way of doing this is to authorise the use of more environmentally-friendly fuel in the islands. Malta should immediately follow the example of other countries with regards to the use of such fuel and introduce LPG.
"The use of LPG would make economic and environmental sense in the medium term", adds Mr Briguglio, "as it is cheaper and cleaner than other types of fuel. Besides, on average, initial LPG conversion costs are recovered within 2 years through fuel cost savings made in this period".

The Green Party spokesperson mentioned the fact that petrol in Malta is currently cheaper than in Europe, due the fact that it is being sold at a ‘social’ price. However, calculations have shown that LPG would be even cheaper than the Maltese price for petrol. Therefore, "it does not make sense that while LPG is illegal in Malta, Maltese tax payers are forking out money for various inefficiencies within the Enemalta monopoly. If Enemalta does not want to import LPG, other companies should be allowed to do so."

He went on to explain to mention the fact that various European countries are offering grants such as lower taxation and lower road tax as incentives for conversion to LPG. "Malta should catch up with its European counterparts and do the same, for the benefit of peoples’ health and the environment".

The AD spokesperson also stated that it is being estimated that within 10 years time hydrogen fuel cells will be used to generate power in cars. "Hydrogen fuel cells are even cleaner than LPG, and should eventually be utilised. Malta should also update itself on the advances in this field". In this regard, Briguglio mentioned the fact that DaimlerChrysler, which is expected to produce the first fuel cell car in 2004, will produce fuel cell buses in 2002 which shall be subsidised by the European Union.

Alternattiva Demokratika has also appealed to the government to introduce long-awaited reforms in Public Transport in order to reduce pollution and traffic. In Malta new car registrations exceeds yearly increase in population and the country has the second highest car population per capita in the world. An improvement in public transport can lead to a reduction in use of cars and thus to a reduction in traffic and pollution.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt