Vietnam switch to green public transport needs gov't support: analysts

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The lack of government support for public transport operators makes it hard for Vietnam to switch to environment-friendly fuels, analysts warn.

In the country 90 percent of vehicles run on gasoline and diesel now, but the government wants a fifth to run on clean fuels by 2020.

There are pilot programs to use compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Vehicles using clean fuel, while saving 30-45 percent on costs, release only half the normal emissions, the HCMC Department of Transport said, citing results from the program. 

But analysts fear there is a shortage of clean fuels and public vehicles able to run on them due to lack of government support in the form of tax cuts and others.

According to Trinh Thi Bich Thuy of the Institute for Environment and Transportation Development, Hanoi has only one gas station that sells clean fuels, the central city of Da Nang has two, and HCMC, three.

Phung Dang Hai, director of  the HCMC Transportation Cooperative Union, told news website Saigon Times that there is no support for borrowing to invest or tax breaks to import CNG buses.

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It is difficult to seek a switch to clean fuels amid the lack of policy support, he said.

Kuk Hyun Soo of South Korea's Ministry of Environment said the government should give a hand. He cited the example of his government, which was able to encourage the use of clean fuels by providing support.

The Korean government pays for buying CNG buses, subsidizes fuel prices, lends for building fuel stations, and offers tax breaks, he added.

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