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Monday, 5 April 2021

Hit the road, Jack.

The dual-fuel vehicles being delivered in the pilot phase of the government’s natgas transition plan are now on the road after Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly handed over the keys to their new owners in a ceremony last night, the cabinet said in a statement.

We’re not sure how many vehicles are being distributed during the pilot: Local media quoted the initiative’s spokesperson Ahmed Abdel Razek as saying that the first batch would consist of just 30 vehicles — a figure the ministry denied when we reached out to confirm it. A ministry source told us that there hasn’t been a target number of vehicles set for the pilot phase. Abdel Razek told us last month that the initial rollout would be “small” to minimize rollout errors.

Less than half of the applicants so far are eligible for the scheme: Some 30k people who met the conditions of the program have been contacted by the ministry, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said during the ceremony. Around 68k people have so far applied to convert their vehicles to run on natural gas.

The government’s entire plan will swap out 1.8 mn cars over the course of a decade — a move that is expected to cost some EGP 320 bn. This includes handing over 70k new dual-fuel cars this year, with hopes to have converted 250k vehicles by 2023. The Finance Ministry is providing vehicle owners with financial incentives to take part in the scheme, while some EGP 16.2 bn is being made available by the government and the central bank to provide subsidized loans through local banks.

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