The demand for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) has witnessed a sharp rise in Barishal city in recent years, with many motor vehicles converting to such low-carbon emitting fuel for its cost-effectiveness.
The city people started to use LPG as a fuel to run their automobiles when the first LPG station, Hazi LPG, was set up in early 2017. And, the number of fuelling stations reached five – each sells 3,000-6,000 litres of gas daily, said station owners.
In 2017, the daily demand for LPG in the city was 500 litres, which rose to 5,000-10,000 litres in 2020. Daily demand is now up to around 25,000-35,000 litres, according to information from gas station owners.
"We need a floating storage regasification unit or a system of importing gas directly to Barishal to meet the huge demand for LPG in the division, which will reduce the cost of transporting LPG to the area," Said Rezbul Karim Rezin, owner of Surovi LPG station in Nathullabad of the city.
To meet the rising demand for LPG, many existing oil re-fuelling stations in Barishal plan to start selling autogas, while 25-30 new LPG stations can come into operation within the next few months, he added.
"I have added LPG service at my petrol station for LNG-run vehicles," said Mizanur Rahman, owner of Rajapur Filling Station in Jhalakathi.
Currently, there are around 4,500 LPG-run vehicles in Barishal, including three-wheelers, according to sources at Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), but LPG-station owners say the number might be as high as 5,000.
Around 10,000 people in the city depend on LNG-run three-wheelers for their livelihoods, said sources at Nathullabad Tin Chaka Motorjaan Samity (Nathullabad Three-Wheeler Motor Vehicle Association).
"The city is full of LPG-run three-wheelers. Recently, many cars have been converted to run on autogas to save on fuel costs," said Rezin.
Currently, a litre of LPG costs Tk55, which is much lower than petrol, octane, or diesel prices. An LPG-run vehicle can go eight to 10 kilometres per litre of gas.
"An LPG vehicle usually needs 10-15 litres of fuel per day, depending on the number of trips it makes," said Rakib, driver of an LPG auto rickshaw.
"LPG vehicles are becoming popular in the city since they cut down electricity consumption for charging battery-run vehicles," said Amir Hossain, director of Infra Polytechnic Institute in the city.
Last year, the BRTA in Barishal stopped issuing and renewing licences to three-wheelers that run on petrol or diesel.
LPG vehicles have also reduced sound and environment pollution in the city, said sources at the BRTA in Barishal.
Diesel or petrol three-wheelers are very loud and pollute the air, while discarded batteries from electric three-wheelers pollute the water and soil of Barishal, said BRTA officials.