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New fuel prices: It’s either ZUPCO, electric cars or we go on foot

Man filling a car up with fuel prices New ZImbabwe

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)
Price 4/03/2022195.99195.721.511.51
Price 9/03/2022218.01216.781.681.67
New Fuel Prices via the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA)

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.

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10 thoughts on “New fuel prices: It’s either ZUPCO, electric cars or we go on foot

  1. our transport situation needs urgent action, without factoring the fuel increase. We do not have enough zupcos hence the mshika shikas and as a result thieves have taken advantage of this situation nor pretending to be mshika shika offering rides only to rob or kill passengers. The gvt is turnig a blind eye to pple being robbed when hiking. there is no option to hike cz there is no zupco. i keep praying that these people do not end up abducting kids going to school. almost everyday you hear of people robbed of few dollars n phones after getting a ride, most of the cases not reported. ALL THIS BECAUSE THEY INSIST ON ONLY ZUPCOS ON THE ROAD. They will only act when it hit close to their home. The distance one has to travel from my place to get a zupco, because in our area you hardly see any zupco, u forced to hike n risk thieves, and for someone to say use zupcos if you have no fuel money eish, for fear of victimisation,i will hold my words and jus say Psalms 109.

  2. Chimbomirai izvozvo it’s still 30 cents increment per litre. I see it reaching $3 per litre soon then we will fart loudly kkkkk.

  3. All this talk about electric cars meanwhile zesa cannot keep our lights on. What actually makes you think they can power millions of EVs needed not to mention fund the infrastructure needed. Some people are really living in wonderland eyy

  4. How about ebikes for the daily intracity commutes ?

    Likely cheaper to purchase, doesn’t require a lot of energy to power it up, less tiring than walking or cycling and saves one from the sticky traffic jams.

    Only one slight drawback in on safety especially with the not so well designed Zimbabwean roads with non existent cycle tracks.

  5. Hhaa kana mazogara arume chinyika chino chakaora…its a pity those who fought the chimurenga died for nothing..from one chain to another..it’s like a curse…in this country we aren’t living..we are simply breathing from day to day…pple nolonger cry now..they just look at their problems and laugh….ever seen cockroaches in a heated oven??.. It would be like 300degrees in there but you will see those gangsters parading with open wings around the meal your roasting in there….yea that’s us zimbos…just surviving.. You can’t explain how but they do thega…

  6. In actual fact I have found that using a bicycle is the most cost effective mode of transport, as long as we are talking about a 20km or so radius.

  7. The EV option is a non-starter with most roads being potholed in Zimbabwe. EVs weigh more than hydrocarbon vehicles meaning more strain on the road infrastructure and possibly navigation malfunctions in this “unfriendly terrain”. Not to mention re-charging in an environment where conventional electricity is becoming more of a challenge to access. Perhaps this is an opportunity to have a govt that uses more brain power than brawn?

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