217 money-losing NGV stations have closed: PTT source

SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 2024

A total of 217 of the 513 NGV stations nationwide have been closed as the business has been operating at losses, a source from PTT Plc said.

The source said most of the NGV stations that have ceased operations were owned by private firms or individuals who decided to turn their stations into other businesses after they saw that the income from selling natural gas for vehicles had plunged.

During the peak of the business, each private station could earn up to 100,000 baht a month, but when the popularity of alternative fuels for vehicles dropped, they earned only some 10,000 to 20,000 baht a month, according to the source.

Meanwhile, the prices of land where their NGV stations were located have been rising a lot, so these private operators decided to use the land for other businesses with higher profits, the source explained.

The source said most of the remaining 296 NGV stations are located along PTT pipelines and most are owned and operated by PTT. The company saw that building NGV stations along the pipelines was a cost-effective measure for avoiding the higher cost of gas transportation.

The source said PTT had also downsized spaces for NGV gas dispensing and was using most of these spaces for other businesses that could yield higher profits.

The source added that PTT has shouldered the cost of NGV subsidies of more than 150 billion baht since it started selling NGV as an alternative and lower-price fuel for vehicles 15 years ago.

When PTT started selling NGV to general members of the public, it tried to maintain the price at 8 baht per kilogramme for years until the price was raised to 19.59 baht from January 1 to May 15 this year, then floated to reflect the market mechanism.

The price for taxi drivers was maintained at 14.62 baht per kilogramme from January 1 to June 30 this year and will be raised to 15.59 baht from July 1 this year to December 31 next year.

The source said PTT has to shoulder the subsidy cost before the floating of the prices.

The source said the government of former prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha realised the price burden on PTT for the subsidy and began promoting the use of biodiesel instead, and allowed PTT to subsidise the prices mainly for taxi drivers and operators of public transportation.