ECLAC re­port out­lines how Caribbean coun­tries can tran­si­tion to en­ergy ef­fi­cient trans­porta­tion

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

aribbean gov­ern­ments can turn high fuel costs for of­fi­cial ve­hi­cles into huge sav­ings on pub­lic ex­pen­di­ture, by switch­ing to elec­tric, hy­brid and plug-in hy­brid ve­hi­cles. This means that in­stead of pay­ing close to US $3 per gal­lon, the fuel cost for a reg­u­lar size light duty bat­tery elec­tric ve­hi­cle would be about 2.5 cents per mile.

More than one third or 36 per­cent of the to­tal en­ergy con­sumed in the Caribbean is used for trans­porta­tion, and Gov­ern­ments are con­sid­er­ing al­ter­na­tives to im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency (EE) in their na­tional fleets.

Th­ese and other find­ings can be found in a new re­port from the Eco­nomic Com­mis­sion for Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean (ECLAC) subre­gional head­quar­ters for the Caribbean, en­ti­tled `Pro­mot­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency in gov­ern­ment trans­porta­tion sys­tems: A tran­si­tion roadmap and cri­te­ria for a readi­ness anal­y­sis’.

Elec­tric ve­hi­cles (EVs) are not only ef­fi­cient in en­ergy con­sump­tion, they are also en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly when used prop­erly since they pro­duce zero tailpipe emis­sions. In light of this, tran­si­tion­ing to EVs will ben­e­fit Small Is­land De­vel­op­ing States (SIDS) in re­duc­ing their high de­pen­dency on fos­sil fu­els and thereby cre­at­ing en­vi­ron­ments for sus­tain­able en­ergy projects.

The re­port notes that sev­eral coun­tries in the Caribbean have started dis­cussing al­ter­na­tives to im­prove EE in their na­tional fleets. How­ever, be­fore this can be­come a re­al­ity in the Caribbean, there are some chal­lenges to the process which should be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion.

In this con­text, the ECLAC study of­fers a guide to as­sist pol­icy-mak­ers in iden­ti­fy­ing the nec­es­sary data, as well as the tech­ni­cal, gov­er­nance, in­fra­struc­ture and fi­nan­cial con­di­tions re­quired to sup­port the tran­si­tion to an en­ergy ef­fi­cient gov­ern­ment fleet.

The im­prove­ment of fleet ad­min­is­tra­tion prac­tices is ex­pected to yield ben­e­fits even be­fore fleet elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, which in­clude un­der or overuse of ve­hi­cles, use of ve­hi­cles for in­ad­e­quate/in­ef­fi­cient func­tions, waste­ful rout­ing and other is­sues that hin­der ef­fi­ciency.

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