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ENVIRONMENT | Staff Reporter, Indonesia

Indonesia switching to natural gas for car fuel

Indonesia will spend $436 million to build 100 new gas stations in Java as part of a national effort to urge private car users to use less polluting natural gas as fuel.

The government is switching to natural gas after it announced a plan to ban private car owners from using Premium fuel, the widely used, low-octane fuel that receives state subsidies. Nineteen of the new stations will be built in Jakarta starting in April.

“The government is serious about developing gas fuel transportation,” said Widjajono Partowidagdo, the deputy energy and mineral resources minister.

He said state-owned oil and gas firm Pertamina is expected to pioneer the changeover. The government, however, expects that private gasoline station operators will also participate.

The Premium prohibition will begin on April 1 in Java and Bali. Transport vehicles and motorcycles will be exempt, however.

The regulation will go into effect in Sumatra and Kalimantan in the second half of 2013, Sulawesi in the first half of 2014, and Maluku and Papua in the latter half of that year.

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