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Sustainable Transportation in Kenya: Green Road User Charges Explained

The global shift towards electric mobility and green energy as a means to combat climate change and reduce reliance on fossil fuels has gained significant momentum.

Kenya, under the leadership of President William Ruto, is actively embracing this transition by aligning with international agreements and formulating strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

However, this transition presents both challenges and opportunities, particularly in terms of funding road maintenance, which has traditionally relied on the fuel levy.

This article explores the implications of moving from fuel levy to green road user charges, highlighting the importance of electric mobility and green energy in saving the environment and assessing the economic and social impact on Kenyan motorists and the country as a whole.

Transitioning to Electric Mobility and Green Energy: Electric mobility has emerged as a global strategy to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

The Paris Declaration on Electro-mobility and Climate Change and Call for Action has set a target for at least 20 percent of all road vehicles to be electrically powered by 2030.

Kenya, in line with global initiatives, aims to expand electric vehicle imports from zero percent to five percent by 2025.

Despite these efforts, Kenya’s electric mobility sector is still in its early stages, with only 671 electric motor vehicles in the country.

Stakeholders are working towards developing the necessary infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of electric vehicles.

The Impact of Green Road User Charges on Kenyan Motorists and Kenya: Traditionally, the fuel levy has been the primary source of funding for road maintenance in Kenya.

However, as more Kenyans transition to energy-efficient vehicles, there is a potential decline in fuel levy revenues. This poses both challenges and opportunities for the Kenya Roads Board (KRB).

Over the past five years, the board has successfully raised significant funds of Sh405 billion, 99 percent of which were proceeds from the fuel levy.

These funds have facilitated the maintenance of a substantial road network of 206,267 kilometers.

Looking ahead, the board aims to raise Sh512 billion in the next plan period to maintain 220,000 kilometers of roads, representing a 26 percent increase.

To ensure the sustainability of the road network, KRB is exploring alternative funding sources aligned with the future of e-mobility.

One potential solution is the transition from the fuel levy to smart road user charges, encompassing both fuel-based and hybrid and electric vehicles.

This approach aims to ensure that all road users contribute their fair share to road maintenance.

Additionally, the board plans to raise Sh150 billion through infrastructure bonds to bridge the funding gap.

These funds will be utilized to increase the road network in good and fair condition from 70 percent in 2023 to 84 percent by the end of 2027.

KRB will strengthen oversight capacity, deploying auditors to regions to monitor road works implementation and ensure value for money.

The Importance of Electric Mobility and Green Energy: Electric mobility and green energy play a vital role in protecting the environment and reducing costs.

By transitioning to electric vehicles, Kenya can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global efforts in combatting climate change.

Improved air quality will positively impact public health and reduce healthcare costs associated with pollution-related illnesses.

Moreover, electric mobility offers economic benefits, including reduced fuel expenses, lower maintenance costs, and job opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

Conclusion: As Kenya embraces the transition towards electric mobility and green energy, the shift from the fuel levy to green road user charges presents both challenges and opportunities for the country.

The Kenya Roads Board is actively working on innovative solutions to ensure the sustainability of road maintenance funding.

Through strategic partnerships, diverse funding sources, and the implementation of smart road user charges, the board aims to maintain a robust road network while embracing the benefits of electric mobility and green energy.

This transition not only contributes to environmental conservation but also offers economic advantages and improved public health for Kenyan motorists and the nation as a whole.

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