Fuel price boosts public transport, hybrid car sales

The China Post news staff

Crowds of motorists lined up at gas stations yesterday, one day before domestic fuel prices were scheduled to increase by over NT$2 per liter and local governments began promoting the use of public transportation. “My farming equipment also needs fuel,” said an elderly man, carrying a full barrel of gasoline on the back of his motorcycle, the tank of which had also been filled.

In Kaohsiung, Wang Kwo-tsai, director-general of Kaohsiung’s transportation bureau, said bus tickets in the southern city are the cheapest in the country. A full ticket costs NT$12, students pay NT$10, and the elderly ride for free, Wang said, adding that discounts are also available for shuttle buses.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has agreed to provide fuel subsidies for public transportation, Wang said.

The Kaohsiung City Government will not easily raise the bus fares, even if it needs to absorb the shortfall between the subsidies and the actual transportation expenses, he added, pointing out that taking public transportation not only helps saving on fuel, but also has positive effects on environmental protection. Happy Hybrids While the public complains about the fuel price hike, hybrid vehicle drivers can keep smiling. The MOEA estimates that drivers of hybrid vehicles will pay less, additionally, for fuel than the NT$700 drivers of traditional vehicles are expected to fork out every month. Hybrids are vehicles powered by two or more distinct power sources, typically an internal combustion engine and additional electric motors.

The rise of fuel prices is a practical promotion for hybrid vehicles, car dealers said, adding that they believe that the world is moving toward driving hybrids vehicles.