I am not going to lie, I seriously contemplated cutting off a few friends who live beyond city limits when I saw the new fuel prices. Two price increases in the space in less than a week is ridiculous. But such is the interconnected world we live in and the pressures that come from events happening in Europe. For Zimbabweans, Twitter and other social media were abuzz with commentary on the new fuel prices and how this would affect their lives.
|Diesel 50 (ZWL$/Litre)||Blend E0 (ZWL$/Litre)||Diesel 50 (US$/Litre)||Blend E0 (US$/Litre)|
Beyond the memes, I was brought back to the seriously dire state of affairs for Zimbabweans as the effects of these new prices are felt.
Minister for Energy says use ZUPCO buses
Hon. Zhemu Soda in an interview with ZiFM Stereo (via Anesu Masamvu) said that Zimbabweans should make use of ZUPCO buses as the country faces a weekly review of fuel prices because of the domino effect being caused by the War in Ukraine.
These comments made me pause for a moment and wonder… Has he ever waited for a bus in recent memory? The answer to that is something I and many others will be interested to hear. I was at Charge Office on Tuesday this week and it was absolute chaos. And if you have ever been anywhere Sam Njoma/Second Street (just after its intersection with Herbert Chitepo Avenue) at peak hours you will know exactly what I am talking about.
People litter the streets with more Mshikashikas than ZUPCO buses or the commuter omnibuses it has commandeered. So the Minister’s suggestion was a little strange for me but it may be easily remedied if members of government take charge (as they should) and commute to work like the majority of Zimbabweans (with some exceptions like the head and deputies of the Executive branch of government).
The only hope of our public transport system working anywhere near as good as it should is if members of parliament and cabinet have to meet their commitments on ZUPCO’s current resources.
Electric cars… (sigh)
Electric Vehicles make so much sense on so many levels. I mean the cost of 1Kwh is a fraction, of a fraction, of a fraction of the cost of 1 litre of diesel or petrol under these new fuel prices. Furthermore, the cost of maintaining one is cheaper in the long run when compared to a dinosaur juice powered car that needs an oil change every now and again as well as a litany of parts that need replacing periodically.
But what do you do when you get your EV and your area suddenly has a days-long ZESA fault.
And even before you can even think about that, getting an EV in is far more expensive than an internal combustion engine vehicle. For example, a 2011 Honda Fit can set you back between US$3K and US$6K depending on the state of the car. On the other hand, a Battery Electric Nissan Leaf from the same year goes for around US$7,500 before taxes. For the average Zimbabwean, there is no contest.
Moreover, public charging stations are few and far between. Over last year we heard that Econet’s solar subsidiary Distributer Power Africa (DPA) was going to be installing a number across Zimbabwe. But the progress on that project is yet to be seen on the streets.
The government could be a key driver in this if they adopted electric cars en masse for parastatal operations and other short to medium distance passenger vehicles… That would certainly reduce the fuel bill that the taxpayer has to foot, incentivise the govt to push for charging stations, as well as leave more fuel for everyone else.
We are more likely to be asked to walk if the prices get out of hand
If a litre of either or both of diesel and petrol gets to two United States Dollars and beyond, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the Ministries of Health, Transport and Energy suggest we do like our ancestors and walk to wherever it is we need to go.
You should also check out
- Bye-bye ZESA, partial to fully off-grid solar prices in Zimbabwe
- Hwindi, Vaya & G-Taxi Lead Ride Hailing Apps In Increasing Prices In Response To Fuel Crisis
- A local mobility startup is offering electric vehicles on credit
- ZESA to acquire electric cars next year as they look to reduce abuse of vehicles and fuel
- Zim bound car maker says it has developed a self-charging electric car
- A Kenyan startup is converting buses to run on electricity