Subsidies for CNG buses

In the next few days, the Ministry of the Environment and the State Environmental Fund will announce a call under the Operational Programme Environment supporting the purchase of new buses for public transport running on compressed natural gas, CNG, and the call will also support the construction of CNG filling stations.

Money for dusty areas

The contribution from European funds will reach one billion Czech Koruna and entities from areas with the highest dustiness and the largest load of emissions from transport, i.e. from the Brno, Moravian-Silesian and Ústí Regions, will be able to use this subsidy. The largest amount should head to the Ostrava Transport Company (Dopravní podnik Ostrava), which plans to replace one third (i.e. up to 100) of its diesel buses for CNG buses. The amount of the subsidy could cover up to 80 % of the purchase cost of a new bus.
The website said that the Brno transport company is considering the purchase of CNG buses due to expensive diesel. With CNG, the company would save money on fuel and reduce its dependence on oil suppliers.
Since the early 1990s, Havířov has also been using CNG buses in public transport. It has 30 CNG buses and a filling station and it also has one of the most modern fleets in the Czech Republic.
Other towns planning to use this grant are Znojmo, Jirkov, Turnov and Kladno. All these towns have positive experience with CNG buses.
However, private companies that provide public transport can also use this subsidy.

Zdeněk Prokopec, Chairman of the NGV Association, said that currently there are over 410 CNG buses operated in the country. With this grant, this number could even double within one year.
Over the last two years, the number of all CNG vehicles in the Czech Republic (there are about 5,500 in total) increased by 70 %.
"The countries with the largest number of CNG vehicles in operation are Pakistan (3.1 million) and Iran (2.9 million). In Europe, Italy is the "CNG kingdom", where there are 750,000 CNG vehicles," said Prokopec.

Ecological bus = expensive bus

The fact that from 2014 only buses meeting the EURO VI standard may be sold in the EU also speaks for the use of the subsidies for the purchase of buses. This establishes a one-third decrease in the volume of discharged solids and also lower nitrogen oxide emissions than determined by the previous standard from 2009. Therefore, the purchase of each bus meeting this strict standard will be CZK 250,000 more expensive. Buses running on CNG automatically meet this standard and do not need to be specially modified

According to Zdeněk Prokopec, CNG vehicles have many indisputable advantages compared to vehicles running on conventional fuels. CNG vehicles produce virtually no pollutants – virtually zero particulate emissions, which are carcinogenic in the case of diesel engines, make CNG not only an environmentally-friendly fuel but also a fuel friendly to human health.
Excise tax per cubic metre of CNG is now CZK 0.36, which is an insignificant amount compared to gasoline or diesel fuel, where the excise tax amounts to about half the price of a litre. Moreover, the operation of CNG vehicles per kilometre costs about CZK 1.00.
The operation of vehicles using compressed natural gas is therefore not only environmentally friendly, but also economically advantageous.

According to the Ministry of the Environment, this subsidy is the most important step in the promotion of so-called green transport.
Applications for financial aid will be accepted from August and will continue in September. Therefore, the time for administration of the subsidy will be tight, mainly due to a delay in the call, which was originally announced in June; however, political changes slowed it down.



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