The government is in negotiation with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the National Treasury to introduce incentives for purchasing fuel-efficient cars and cut down carbon emissions. This was announced as one of the recommendations of a study by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and University of Nairobi unveiled by Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
This has been attributed to low levels of public awareness on environmental degradation in addition to inadequate incentives that would encourage people buying motor vehicles to opt for fuel efficiency.On the other hand, the country is already enjoying the positive effects of new fuel standards introduced by the East African Community.
“The Harmonized Fuel Standards specified that diesel have a maximum sulphur content of 50 parts per million (ppm), while petrol should have an octane rating of 93,” said Engineer Joseph Njoroge, Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.
“With these standards, the quality of fuel sold in Kenya matches that sold in developed countries,” remarked Eng. Njoroge.
The Principal Secretary was speaking during the launch of a study report on the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) in Kenya. GFEI is a partnership of five organizations actively involved in improving the fuel economy of vehicles with expected positive impacts on human health and climate change.
The five GFEI organizations are: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the European Union (EU), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Transport Forum (ITF), and FIA Foundation.
In Kenya, UNEP collaborated with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to undertake the GFEI study project. In turn, ERC commissioned the University of Nairobi to carry out the study. National vehicle inventory data was analyzed to obtain the current fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emission levels. Subsequently, there was a survey on existing regulations in the transport sector, determination of health implications and Cost Benefit Analysis.
Recommendations from the GFEI study
a) Vehicle Inspection
The Motor Vehicle Inspection Unit should develop capacity to:
• Conduct regular inspection for vehicle safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions for all vehicles.
• Increase capacity of the unit or license credible garages to provide the inspection services to all vehicles and motorcycles.
The National Treasury should establish mechanisms to:
• Develop fuel tax options / tax rebate systems in relation to CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency levels.
• Reduce per capita annual kilometres travelled through travel demand management strategies.
c) Infrastructure and transport planning
The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure should establish a framework for provision of mass transit (Bus/Train) to enhance a shift from private car dominance and provide for Non-Motorized Transport modes i.e. bicycles lanes, special lanes for cart-pooling and pedestrian lanes.
d) Health surveillance
Ministries of Health and Environment should establish frameworks to:
• Conduct continuous surveillance of total suspended particulate (TSP) matter and elemental concentrations.
• Conduct periodic estimation of economic burden of vehicle emission related illnesses in order to plan and implement control and prevention policies and programs.
e) Vehicle and fuel Standards
National Transport and Safety Authority should establish a framework to:
• Phase out motorcycles with two stroke engines on account of high pollution and fuel consumption levels.
• Implement all relevant existing standards.