Pakistan is rich in natural resources and by far, natural gas has been one of the most beneficial for the people of the nation thus far. It is clean, environmentally friendly and extremely cheap, well for now. But if we continue using it like there is no tomorrow and thinking “Allah is naimat ko khatam nai karay ga”, than we are seriously mistaken.
Non-renewable resources are exactly that, not renewable and of limited quantity. They must be used with the outmost care to save enough for future generations, while coming up with newer methods to meet our growing thirst for energy.
Natural Gas is being used around Pakistan in numerous ways. In houses, factories and to power electricity generating plants, which are all necessities and cannot be for now, powered without. But by far the biggest waste of this blessing is by using it in a compressed form, in our cars.
Compressed Natural Gas, or CNG as we know it, was made widespread by the Government of Pakistan a number of years back for various reasons. One, it was extremely cheap and would run our cars in an environmentally friendly manner and two; it was brought out to lessen the usage of petrol and burden of subsidizing the fossil fuel on the national exchequer.
What we are facing now is a severe shortage of Natural Gas and not controlling it would only mean a total blackout in the near future. Gas guzzling vehicles have been known to be also using CNG to run their engines, which is ultimately destroying the entire point of having the gas for the people who actually need it.
It is a blessing to have CNG since people in the United States or Canada and many other countries around the world are still relying on expensive petrol to get around, but in $4-5, Pakistanis are able to commute as much while spending a fraction of the cost.
What the government needs to do now is not stop the consumption of CNG altogether, but limit who is allowed to use it in their cars. Those vehicles, with an engine capacity of above 1000 CC, must be forced to run on either petrol or diesel and not CNG. Some might be flabbergasted at the idea, but those able to afford such cars, which actually fall into the luxury category, can easily afford petrol and other methods of running their engines but choose not to just to save that extra little amount.
Obviously those with smaller cars and engines buy them with the sole purpose of saving money on fuel and other costs and seeing a 4500 CC Land Cruiser in the same line with a 800 CC Suzuki Mehran is just awful and uncalled for.
A ban must be imposed on all CNG stations, disallowing the use of CNG in bigger vehicles while mandatory tests must be carried out on all such cars, inspecting that there is no CNG kit installed. Also, public transport like the newly launched buses in Lahore, should not be allowed to run on CNG, it just is not logical in anyway. Only then will we be able to continue using this blessing for years to come while devising other methods of satisfying the need.
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