Rising PoL Prices

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The price of petrol in Nepal has gone up by Rs. 60 per litre in past five months. Similar is the case with other petroleum products like diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel and cooking gas. In the latest go, the price of petrol went up by Rs. 21 on Monday and reached Rs. 199. The price of diesel and kerosene, likewise, increased by Rs. 27 each and reached Rs. 192. The price of aviation fuel for domestic flights increased by Rs. 19 per litre and that for the international flight went up by USD 100 per kiloliter. Triggered by the war in Ukraine, these price increases are unprecedented. This is something that makes people jittery because its ripple effect is going to cause price hike of every consumer item in the market and transport fares. Parliamentarians drew the government’s attention about the fuel price hike that is going to make the life of citizens difficult. Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Dilendra Prasad Badu made it clear that the cause of price rise of petroleum fuels is global and a compulsion. It is said that Nepal Oil Corporation is still in loss and the fear of further price rise looms. At this situation, the government may give some relief by waiving taxes on fuel import. In addition to that, we have to switch to alternative energy source that is viable for Nepal. Hydropower is one.  

The prices of petroleum fuels are continuously increasing and at this stage, it is difficult to predict when this trend will come to a halt. Smooth transportation and easy mobility are the pre-requisite for development and rising fuel prices pose unprecedented challenge in the country’s development efforts. This trend will also seriously affect the life and livelihood of the people. Production and transportation are vital components of vibrant economy and currently the economies of the world are largely dependent on fossil fuels. The ongoing price rise of petroleum fuels calls for innovative switch towards cleaner sources of alternative energy and being less dependent on fossil fuels. Every crisis offers opportunity and the current crisis seen in the supply of petroleum products caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should inspire a shift in the pattern of energy consumption. So, before the affordability of petroleum fuels becomes critical and economies start making a recession oriented downturn, it is urgent to turn to alternative energy and new option must be cleaner and sustainable.

As for what Nepal needs to do in this regard, we need to tap the vast potential of hydropower generation and drastically cut the dependency on the import and consumption of petroleum fuels. Burning of fossil fuels in excessive amounts has been scientifically established as the cause of the rise of global temperatures. This has triggered increasingly hostile climatic conditions and extreme weather phenomena. A drastic cut in the burning of fossil fuels is the call of the hour if global temperature rise and change in climate is to be reversed. The current situation of petroleum short supply and price increase are triggered by war but this crisis should make us wiser and more efficient to tilt towards cleaner mode of energy and greener mode of economy. This is the time that calls for bigger investments in the generation of solar, wind and hydropower. Scientific research is also focusing on the potential and prospects of hydrogen energy that is based on zero carbon emissions and burning of oxygen. The world should also change its lifestyle, with a timely departure from over consumption and luxurious living. The craze for fast growth should not be dependent on polluting fuels such as coal, petrol and diesel. Green economy may grow in rather slower pace but it will care for human health, better environment and sustainability. That is an inevitable shift for the future.     

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