24 October 2015, Maputo — Autogas, the company which sells compressed natural gas used as vehicle fuel, has put up gas prices by 12 per cent.
A litre-equivalent of natural gas for vehicles rises in price from 18.75 to 21 meticais (from 45.7 to 51.2 US cents, at current exchange rates).
Cited in Friday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, the managing director of Autogas, Joao das Neves, said the company’s rising operational costs, meant that the price had to be increased. The last time that Autogas increased the price of gas was in 2010.
But compressed natural gas remains much cheaper than liquid fuels. A litre of petrol costs 47.8 meticais, and a litre of diesel 36.8 meticais, compared to 21 meticais for a litre equivalent of gas.
The reason why, despite the potentially massive savings in fuel costs, only a handful of motorists have switched to gas is the high capital cost of converting vehicles to run on gas. Conversion costs between 35,000 and 85,000 meticais, depending on the type of vehicle. So far only about 1,800 vehicles are running on compressed gas, all in the greater Maputo area. Autogas says it is currently carrying out about 50 conversions a month.
A further problem is that there are only five refueling posts for gas, although a further two are planned.
The gas is a Mozambican product, coming from the natural gas fields at Pande and Temane, in Inhambane province. By replacing imported liquid fuels, motorists who opt for compressed gas are helping reduce the country’s fuel bill.
Compressed natural gas is also much cleaner than petrol or diesel, and causes less damaged to vehicle engines.