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Kenyans Ditch Cars Over Fuel Prices

  • A major transport crisis is looming in Nairobi as private car owners opt for public transport or carpooling due to latest fuel price hike. Meanwhile, matatus are operating at half capacity.

    On the eve of March 15, petrol stations across Nairobi witnessed long queues as Kenyans looked to fill up their gas tanks at the previous cost one last time.

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, a Ruaka resident who works in Westlands revealed that he had convinced his neighbors that carpooling was the most sensible step to take.

    Joyland shopping center in Ruaka. December 21, 2020.

    Joyland shopping center in Ruaka. December 21, 2020.

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    Eddy Mwanza

    “Our apartment’s parking lot has been almost full for the last two days as we decided to cost-share,

    “We use the Red Hill Crescent Road to Westlands. Those working in town board matatu from there, at a cost of Ksh20-Ksh30, we then do the same in the evening. The new fuel prices are just unsustainable bearing in the mind the current state of the economy,” Peter detailed.

    According to the ODM party’s Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority’s (EPRA’s) announcement poses a danger to the President’s Big Four Agenda items.

    The steep rise, the fourth consecutive increase over the past four months, is bound to drive up the cost of transport, electricity and manufactured goods.

    ­Diesel is also used to run power plants, farm machinery and commercial generators with any increase in the cost of production likely to be passed to consumers.

    To import a litre of petrol from the Middle East, and transport it all the way to Nairobi, oil marketers spend Ksh 49.84.

    However, Kenyans have to part with Ksh 122.81 to buy this same quantity 

    A breakdown of the fees shows that taxes and levies account for Ksh 57.33 for every litre of petrol, this is more than 100 percent of the actual cost of the commodity.

    To compound the looming crisis, cargo hauliers and matatu operators are contemplating increasing charges.

    On the part of Public Service Vehicle operators, an argument was raised as to why the SGR has been allowed to operate at night when long-distance buses remain restricted.

    An old photo of President Uhuru Kenyatta during the height of his campaign in a bid to secure the presidency went viral moments after the new fuel prices were announced.

    This was because a petrol station was captured in the background showing a litre of unleaded petrol was going for Ksh 67 at the time.

    The number of vehicles in Nairobi alone is likely to be more than 1.35 million in 2030, going by the current rate of registration. 

    The National Transport and Service Authority (NTSA) registers 7,000 vehicles monthly and 90,000 every year in Nairobi.

    Following the trend of constant spikes in fuel prices, motorists have been looking into alternatives with electric cars gaining popularity.

    some car owners are converting their fuel cars to electronic vehicles (EV) in a trend that is slowly picking pace in the city.

    When converting a vehicle, the engineers remove the engine, fuel tanks and gearbox, and replace them with their drive trains, which comprises an electric motor, battery packs, power electronics and auxiliary systems such as driver touch screen interface, and type 2 charging port.

    Batteries can last for 100 km up to 450 km depending on the terrain and type of car. 

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    A Nopea Ride electric taxi at Two Rivers Mall

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