Afghanistan tanks up on eco-friendly fuel
In late 2014, two liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vehicle conversion centers and gas stations opened in the Afghan capital of Kabul, offering budget-conscious motorists a way to run their cars on affordable, eco-friendly fuel.
They were the newest outlets of the Global Auto Gas Co., which is credited with kick-starting the LPG industry in Afghanistan.
“I’ve been using LPG since 2012,” says Faridullah, a minibus driver who uses only one name. “It’s cheap and performs just as well as traditional fuel.”
The company has many satisfied customers like him. But its growth and expansion into Kabul would have been hard without support from USAID, says the company’s owner, Sayed Noman.
In 2012, Noman started the first conversion plant with the help of USAID’s Afghanistan Small and Medium Enterprises Development project. He then availed himself of the investment partnership offered by USAID’s Assistance in Building Afghanistan by Developing Enterprises (ABADE) program.
“USAID provided critical support to start the first conversion plant. Two years later, through the ABADE program, USAID has helped me establish two new stations and conversion centers,” says Noman.
The conversion centers are located in the same area and provide convenience to clients who may need both refilling and auto maintenance at the same time. Cars are initially reconfigured at the centers to use the LPG system
Global Auto Gas was able to buy LPG dispensers, underground bulk storage tanks, calibrating meters and other equipment to set up the two new stations along the Jalalabad-Kabul highway. The company expects to create 92 direct jobs and 80 indirect jobs from the two stations, which operate 24 hours a day and provide jobs in two or three shifts.
ABADE is a $105 million project that runs from October 2012 to October 2016. The Global Auto Gas Co. is one of 143 public-private investment partnerships that have been formed with Afghan small and medium enterprises, nearly 40 percent of which are managed or owned by women.
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