By Mario Casayuran
The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) threw yesterday their support behind a bill providing for of a national energy policy and regulatory framework for the use of electric and hybrid vehicles, and the establishment of electric charging stations.
The bill is aligned with the current thrust of the DOE ‘’which is the promotion of energy sector innovation towards the attainment of sustainable energy consumption through the issuance of supporting policies to encourage the utilization of emerging and advanced technologies, including electric vehicles (EVs),’’ Cesar G. Dela Fuente III, Director, Officer-in-Charge (OIC)- Energy Utilization Management Bureau, said.
The DOE position on the issue was submitted by LTO Chief Edgard C. Galvante to Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate energy committee, during yesterday ’s public hearing by his committee on the bill Gatchalian authored.
The LTO, on the other hand, also supported the passage by Congress of the Gatchalian bill, saying that the measure has noble intentions, primarily the promotion of environmentally-friendly vehicles.
Galvante, Assistant Secretay of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in charge of the LTO, said the LTO is mandated by law to collect Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) upon registration of vehicles to be used for the maintenance of roads.
‘’Although electric vehicles do not emit hazardous emissions, they likewise use roads and contribute to the wear and tear. If any incentives shall be extended to electric and hybrid vehicles for the role they play in providing environmentally friendly transportation, it should be tax incentives on importation and for the development of their industry,’’ Galvante said.
The Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (eVAP) strongly suggested to Gatchalian that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should be the lead agency in the EV industry development and crafting of fiscal incentives.
The DTI should also assist the DOE in the crafting of the EV Roadmap, it added.
The EVAP also suggested the following:
It is recommended to stipulate and enumerate the financial package for electric vehicles possible including tariff-free importation of a vehicle, a class of charging equipment and selected parts.
That guidelines on the co-location of charging points and fueling stations be developed and enforced to ensure public safety.
In explaining his bill, Gatchalian pointed out that the local transportation sector is highly dependent on foreign energy sources, with the country importing around 98 percent of its crude requirement.
‘’This, in turn, makes the commuting and driving public highly vulnerable to price movements in the global marketplace. in May 2018 alone, the increase in international oil prices contributed to 0.3 percent to the country’s highest inflation rate in five years,’’ he said.
‘’Similarly, the same amount of imported energy consumed by the local transportation sector results to around 23,5 metric tons of carbon dioxide being released into the country’s atmosphere, affecting the health and well-being of the population. The number is estimated to further increase to 48.8 metric tons by 2030,’’ he added.
Gatchalian said that electric vehicles are likewise more cost-effective for the riding public.
‘’A 2018 study shows that it costs merely P2.75 per kilometer to operate an electric jeepney compared to P4.50 per kilometer using a diesel-powered jeepney. Similarly, a 2017 Toyota Prius Prime that runs on 100 percent electric is estimated to cost P1.40 per kilometer while a similar vehicle running on 100 percent gasoline costs P2.30 per kilometer to operate,’’ he said.