Laos Government Encourages Use of Electric Vehicles as Fuel Imports Decline

Residents waiting to refuel their motorbikes. (Photo: The Star)

The government spent less on fuel imports in August than in the previous month, but officials say there is enough fuel to meet the country’s needs, citing this as an opportunity to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

In July, the government imported about USD 65 million worth of diesel and USD 20 million worth of regular and premium petrol, but spending dropped to USD 58 million for diesel and USD 17 million for regular and premium petrol in August, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC).

Recently, fuel company PTT Lao Limited warned that Laos could face new fuel shortages if the current foreign exchange crisis is not resolved quickly.

However, the Lao Fuel and Gas Association (LFGA) and the MOIC later debunked the notice, assuring residents that the country’s fuel distribution situation was under control.

According to the Vientiane Times, the MOIC has assured consumers that petrol stations will not run out of fuel, despite the recent drop in spending on imports, attributing the decline to the government’s focus on increasing the use of electric vehicles in the country.

“Due to the rising cost of gasoline, more people are switching to electric vehicles to save money on fuel and reduce air pollution,” a ministry report states.

The government is saving money on imports and reducing its reliance on fossil fuels by encouraging the use of electric vehicles, which have saved 300,000 liters of fuel so far, according to the report.

Last year, 3,201 electric vehicles were in use, comprising 1,428 cars and 1,773 motorcycles. Laos currently has more than 20 charging stations, and 18 dealerships have expressed interest in importing electric vehicles for sale nationwide.

The growing popularity of electric vehicles is expected to help the government achieve its goals of promoting clean energy and developing the transportation sector, as outlined in the 2025 Development Plan, the 2030 Strategy, and the 2050 Vision.

To support this transition to a more sustainable transportation system, the MOIC is creating policies and plans to promote the use of electric vehicles and developing rules for the installation of public charging stations.

Despite prioritizing clean energy efforts, the government is also taking measures to guarantee that fuel importers receive adequate foreign currency to purchase the necessary amount of fuel for consumers in the country.

Currently, 14 fuel importing companies in Laos buy enough fuel to meet the daily needs of consumers, which are at least 500,000 liters of regular-grade petrol and one million liters of diesel.