Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fuel-efficient exhaust systems in demand

Fuel-efficient exhaust systems in demand
Maryono and Arya Dipa, The Jakarta Post, PURBALINGGA/Bandung | Thu, 03/15/2012 9:15 AM
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While people are generally miffed at the government for planning to raise fuel prices, home industry makers of automotive exhaust systems in Purbalingga appear to be cashing in on the plan.

The exhaust systems are claimed to be fuel efficient and demand for them has reportedly increased ahead of the planned April 1 fuel-price hike.

Exhaust system workshops can be found in Pesayangan village, Purbalingga regency, Central Java.

The village is home to some 150 exhaust system producers, but one of them, Muhajirin, claims that only his product is fuel efficient.

Muhajirin, 57, boasted that he was selling an average of 150 exhaust systems a month instead of 100 units since news of the government’s plan to raise subsidized fuel prices began to circulate.

“Although the prices of fuel-efficient exhaust systems are higher than regular ones, demand for them is growing,” Muhajirin told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

The lowest price of his exhaust systems for motorcycles is Rp 400,000 (US$43.60) each, while units for four-wheeled vehicles sell for Rp 900,000 to Rp 2 million.

He said the idea of creating the exhaust system came from the fact that a leaking or damaged exhaust system often led to increased fuel consumption.

“My logic was that if an exhaust system could waste fuel, it should be possible to make it economical in consumption.”

The government plans to increase gasoline and diesel prices by Rp 1,500 from Rp 4,500.

Responding to the government’s subsidized fuel plan, the West Java branch of the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda) has proposed what it calls a restricted fuel subsidy, in which only fuel prices for private vehicles would be increased.

“To raise fuel prices through a restricted subsidy is possible. We want public transportation to still use subsidized fuel. The hike should only be for private consumption,” head of West Java Organda said in an audience with Governor Ahmad Heryawan in Bandung on Wednesday.

A restricted fuel subsidy, he said, could be implemented by requiring public transportation vehicles to
fill their tanks only at designated gas stations. “This way, the consumption of subsidized fuel could be controlled,” he said.

He said that an across-the-board increase in fuel prices would push up fares, which would eventually result in a decrease in passengers.

West Java Organda operates 200,000 public vehicles, or 1 to 2 percent of the vehicles in the province.

The governor said he would convey the proposal to the central government.

“We want no mismatch between the number of public transportation vehicles and fuel consumption in a regency or municipality. It is just a proposal,” he said.

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