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Reducing fuel costs with innovation

Finding innovative ways to reduce fuel costs can take many forms. Transparency and convenience are the focus by two sectors for which fuel is essential – public transport and fishing.

While the $15-per gallon cap on gasoline implemented in December was welcomed, as announced by Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Physical Development, and Energy Hon Gregory Bowen when he delivered the 2022 Budget Speech on Nov 26, 2021, other initiatives are underway.   

During the past few months the National Bus Association (NBA) has been testing an initiative with a major fuel company designed to provide accurate accounts of fuel consumption, reduce paper work and, ultimately, save a few cents on every gallon, which can add up quickly when a bus consumes 10 to 11 gallon daily.

The trial involves 15 buses on all routes across the nine zones, and the NBA is adjusting the programme as more information is provided from the participating drivers. The programme is designed to keep track of fuel consumption for both bus owners and drivers.

NBA president Garth Woodroffe noted that concessions and other benefits are available to farmers and fishers.

“Public transportation should be seen as just as important,” he said, in providing fuel rebates or access to the duty free price.

The Gouyave Fishermen Co-operative Society Limited (GFCSL), which can purchase fuel at the duty free price, currently at $10.20, sells fuel to fishers at $14.06. One industry observer, along with some fishers, told The Grenadian Voice that GFCSL should sell fuel to fishers at the duty-free price.

“The fishermen are helpless. They don’t know who to complain to,” the observer said, preferring to remain anonymous. He said fishermen want to know how the cooperative arrives at its sale price.

“Who makes this price,” he questioned.

A GFCSL spokesperson said since the programme was initiated seven years ago, there has not been one complaint from any fisher, member or non-member. The GFCSL gas station on the jetty serves fishers along the west coast from Duquesne, Victoria, Gouyave and Beausejour. Moreover, before fishers purchase fuel they agree to the terms and register their boat.

“They have an option. They have a choice and they choose to buy their fuel from us,” the spokesperson added, noting that there are administrative and other operational costs for the cooperative. Should fishermen choose to purchase gas elsewhere, they must apply for a rebate, which requires paperwork.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Consumer Affairs confirmed to this newspaper that it has not received any complaints about the price of fuel being sold from any gas station in the State.

These initiatives to help ease fuel costs for Grenadian fishers and those who work in public transportation proceed as global experts predict significantly higher costs for gasoline and natural gas due to mounting tensions between Russia and the Ukraine. Russia is a large producer of oil and natural gas. The per barrel oil price approached $100 a barrel on Tuesday, the highest in several years.

Yesterday United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Russia to stop military

operations.

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