GB Energy retrofitting cars for cheaper fuel
From left to right: Tourism Minister Tourism Minister, Energy Minister Fayval Williams, Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association President Gregory Chung, race car driver Kyle Gregg and GB Energy Jamaica CEO Mauricio Pulido examine a Team GB-branded race car at Texaco Jamaica's Centennial Celebrations. (Photo: Collin Reid)
Operators of Texaco gas stations, GB Energy is investing $80 million to construct a conversion centre in Grants Pen, St Andrew to retrofit vehicles with pumps to use a cheaper alternative to petrol.
The liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) product called Autogas is 50 per cent cheaper than 90-Octane fuel.
The conversion centre will employ about 30 persons upon completion in the second half of the year, GB Energy Jamaica CEO Mauricio Pulido revealed.
GB Energy has so far converted 25 vehicles to facilitate the use of LPG locally. According to Pulido, the reception for the product has so far been good.
“It has been fantastic. My employees have the cars that are retrofitted and they like it because it’s cheaper,” the CEO told Loop News following his address at Texaco Jamaica Centennial Celebrations at the Jamaica Pegasus on Tuesday.
He added: “With the Corolla, it runs like 34 miles per gallon, which is really good.”
LPG is currently available at the Texaco service station located at 27 Half Way Tree Road in St Andrew while the Molynes Road location will begin offering the gas sometime in May.
GB Energy is investing $150 million to supply LPG from 15 service stations on the island by the end of the year.
Asked whether the conversion will affect the security and performance of the vehicle, Pulido said GB Energy is using state-of-the-art Italian technology that has been around for 77 years.
“It’s very safe and the car is not affected at all. It will be fully reliable and there is no risk of any explosion or anything like that because the system is well designed,” he said, noting that the vehicle can also maintain its original fuel tank.
GB Energy Jamaica CEO Mauricio Pulido
In his address at Tuesday’s event, attended by recently appointed Energy Minister Fayval Williams and Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, Pulido said GB Energy is doing what it can to contribute to the island.
“We entered the LPG market because we are conscious that Jamaica needs every effort from the private sector to help meet the growth target,” he told those in attendance.
This is an option that is not just economically effective, but environmentally friendly Pulido added.
In addition to LPG, GB Energy is heavily investing in the construction of new service stations with plazas to include quick service restaurants, convenience stores, restrooms and other amenities.
“We are providing a one-stop shop at the service stations,” Pulido said.
The service station is a traffic generator so it’s a good proposition for quick service restaurants like KFC, Wendy’s and Subway, Pulido said, noting that the company is already in discussions with the fast-food restaurant operators.
GB Energy has so far opened new service stations in Unity Valley, along the North-South Highway, Mountain View in Kingston, Lucea in Hanover, Montego Bay and Falmouth.
Pulido revealed that the plaza at the new Falmouth service station is now filled, and the location in Mountain View is set to open by June and will feature a KFC outlet.
Other locations will be opened in Kingston, Priory, St Ann, Ironshore, Montego Bay and Clarendon by the end of the year.
GB Energy acquired the Chevron Texaco down-stream operations in Jamaica in November 2012. It currently has a network of 70 service stations.