WHY THE ERC’S MOVE TO CHARGE MOTORISTS WITH VEHICLES EMITTING EXTRA CARBON MONOXIDE IS A LONG OVERDUE IDEA

Do you plan to own a car soon? You may need to put that plan on hold. Here is why; recent statistics indicate that there are about 2.02 million cars on Kenyan roads with the figure growing annually by 10 percent. This trend therefore indicates that the urge to own cars in the country is rather high. What are the effects of having such a high number of vehicles on our roads today? Besides the carnage and congestion on our roads, there is an increase in the import of fake motor vehicle parts. On the flip side though, motor vehicle repairers have more business and there are more youths getting job opportunities in the motor vehicle industry and hence, helping to build the economy.

A factor that many however forget is that, with the increase in the number of vehicles imported every year, there is a direct consequence to the environment in the sense of Carbon Emissions. During combustion, a vehicle’s engine emits carbon dioxide into the air which in the long run could have adverse effects on the ecosystem. The older a car engine gets, the more carbon it emits. The government through its body, the Energy Regulatory Commission, plans to charge extra, for every vehicle deemed to be emitting carbon dioxide above the required limit. According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, which is partly funding the emissions reduction plan, as it is being referred to, has recommend 158 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer (gCO2/km) for Kenya, which is the same recommendation for other African countries like the Mauritius.

Just like there is a charge for excessive speeding, there will be a charge for every 22 units that are above UNEP’s recommended limit. This will ensure that vehicles imported will need to be newer than the regular 8 years old. Eco-friendly cars are expensive and this will most certainly see a lower purchase of vehicles. This will variably affect businesses in motor repair. However, looking at the bigger picture, the move by the energy regulatory commission could not have been timelier. Less carbon emissions mean less pollution and a healthier, happier population.

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