Rwanda Sets Tougher Vehicle Gas Emission Standards

Vehicles on Rwandan roads will effective 2015 be subjected to tougher gas emission standards aimed at protecting the environment.

According to Rwanda’s Environmental Management Authority (REMA), cars that pass the emissions test will be awarded a certificate.

Dr. Rose Mukankomeje, CEO of REMA, says, “Any vehicle with no applicable emissions standards shall not be awarded technical control certificate; hence unauthorised to operate in the country.”

She adds that commercial vehicles will undergo the gas emissions test twice a year while tests on personal vehicles will be conducted once in a year.

All vehicles shall undergo emissions test in addition to the existing technical inspections.

The implementation of gas emissions standards follows a 2011 decision by East African community member states, seeking to trade cleaner fuel in the region effective 2015.

Since 2011, all EAC member states resolved to import only low sulphur fuel (cleaner fuel), to avoid sulphur oxides which cause respiratory diseases.

The standards aim at lowering sulphur to 50 parts per million (50ppm) in a litter of fuel from 500ppm, according to Remy Duhuze, director of Environmental Regulations and Pollution Control at REMA.

The maximum sulphur content allowed in Europe is 50ppm per litre.

Prof. Safali Bonfils, a climatologist told KTPress that inspection of gas emission is timely, because oxides emission causes lung cancer and global warming.

“In industrial countries, communities are exposed, but in developing countries like ours (Rwanda) we are not safe neither because the more cars in traffic the more pollution.”

Some European countries like Sweden, Ireland and United Kingdom are reaching 10ppm and even free sulphur.

Eugene Kayigamba, vice-president of Rwanda Fuel Importers Association, said they have, since 2012, started importing the 50ppm fuel.

“Car owners should buy fuel from recognized gas stations,” he said, adding that poor servicing of a car and a mixture of oil qualities can lead to emission of pollutants.

Michel Kanyamibwa, a taxi driver says, “I have no problem with new gas emission standards. I take good care of my car by maintaining timely servicing.”

Rwanda imports all its petroleum products through Kenya and Tanzania ports.

Kayigamba notes, “There is no difference in high and low sulphur fuel in terms of price.”

Currently, a barrel of crude oil costs $48 on international market.

By: Jean de la Croix Tabaro