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LCQ8: Liquefied petroleum gas filling stations

     Following is a question by the Hon Michael Tien and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, in the Legislative Council today (June 15):


     The Government has provided sites for dedicated liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) filling stations (dedicated filling stations) at nil land premium in order to support the launch of the LPG Taxi Scheme.  Under the relevant contracts signed between the operators of dedicated filling stations and the Government, LPG pump prices (pump prices) at dedicated filling stations are required to be capped by a Pricing Formula whereas non-dedicated filling stations are free to adjust their pump prices.  There are currently 12 dedicated filling stations and 67 non-dedicated filling stations in Hong Kong.  Quite a number of drivers of taxis and pubic light buses (PLBs) have relayed to me that LPG filling stations are highly insufficient and their geographical distribution is extremely uneven at present.  As a result, quite a number of drivers often have to wait for a long time for refilling services, especially during peak hours.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the respective current numbers of (i) LPG PLBs, (ii) LPG taxis and (iii) diesel PLBs; the respective current numbers of dedicated and non-dedicated filling stations in each District Council district;

(2) whether it has regularly monitored the pump price gaps between dedicated and non-dedicated filling stations; if it has, of the details;

(3) given that some taxi drivers have relayed that refilling services at some LPG filling stations are frequently suspended due to regular inspections, whether the authorities have grasped the situation concerned; if they have, of the details;

(4) whether the authorities will coordinate the schedules for various LPG filling stations to undergo regular inspections, in order to avoid concurrent suspension of refilling services due to inspections at a number of LPG filling stations in the same district, thereby reducing the inconvenience caused to the drivers concerned; and

(5) given that some Lantau taxi drivers have complained to me that as there is no dedicated filling station on Lantau Island, they can only go to non-dedicated filling stations where pump prices are higher to have their taxis refilled, whether the Government has plans to set up dedicated filling stations on Lantau Island; if it does, of the details and implementation timetable?



     To improve roadside air quality and protect public health, the Government launched in 2000 the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Vehicle Scheme to allow the taxi and public light bus trades to replace their diesel vehicles with LPG ones.  To complement the Scheme, the Government had planned in parallel the setting up of dedicated LPG filling stations (dedicated stations) so as to form a LPG filling network the soonest possible and offered land without premium at strategic locations in the urban areas (i.e. in proximity to the operating areas of the majority of the taxis) for setting up 12 dedicated stations.  The LPG price at the dedicated stations is regulated by operation contracts.  

     To enhance the coverage of the LPG filling network, the Government has also encouraged oil companies to set up non-dedicated LPG filling stations (non-dedicated stations) operating on commercial principles (including capable of setting their own LPG price) for supplying petrol, diesel and LPG to motor vehicles.  To further expand the LPG filling network, the Government has since 2011 been requiring operators, vide land sale tender for petrol filling station use, to provide LPG filling nozzles at a number of not less than 25 per cent of the total number of petrol, diesel and LPG nozzles at the station, subject to safety requirements being met.  There are now 458 LPG filling nozzles throughout Hong Kong, including those installed in dedicated and non-dedicated stations, with 90 nozzles installed on Hong Kong Island and 368 in Kowloon and the New Territories, of which 20 are installed in the non-dedicated stations in Lantau.

     My specific responses to the questions raised by the Hon Michael Tien are as follows:

(1) According to the vehicle registration records of the Transport Department as at April 30, 2016, there were 18 126 LPG taxis, 3 037 LPG public light buses (PLB) and 1 305 diesel PLBs in Hong Kong.  There are a total of 66 LPG filling stations, comprising of 12 dedicated stations and 54 non-dedicated stations, providing LPG filling services to LPG taxis and PLBs.  The geographical distribution of the dedicated and non-dedicated stations (by District Council districts) is detailed in Annex.  The public can also find the locations of LPG filling stations on the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) website

(2) The LPG ceiling prices of the dedicated stations are set in accordance with the established formula stipulated in the operation contracts and are regulated by the EMSD.  The pricing formula makes reference to two key elements, namely the LPG international price and LPG operating price.  The LPG international price refers to the LPG international price of the preceding month while the LPG operating price is adjusted on the first day of February every year based on the change in the Composite Consumer Price Index of the previous year.  The dedicated stations follow this mechanism to set the LPG ceiling prices on a monthly basis.  To ensure transparency of the price adjustment mechanism, the EMSD has been announcing the LPG international prices and the LPG ceiling prices of the dedicated stations via issuing press releases and posting them on its website for the reference of the public and the trades.

     For non-dedicated stations, their operators are awarded land grants via open tender and oil companies will set their own retail price for motor vehicle fuels, including LPG, on a commercial basis.  Thus, the Government does not conduct regular monitoring on the LPG price gap between the dedicated and non-dedicated stations.

(3) and (4) To minimise the impacts on LPG filling services at the dedicated stations during maintenance and repair, the EMSD has regularly reminded and requested operators to schedule checking and routine maintenance of LPG nozzles during the non-peak hours as far as possible.  Operators of dedicated stations will also follow the established notification mechanism to inform drivers, a few days in advance, of any regular or planned maintenance and repair, and post notices at the stations for them to plan early.  In case of emergency, such as emergency maintenance which affects operation of the bulk of the LPG nozzles, the operators will inform drivers immediately through taxi radio service stations and PLB fleet operators.  The EMSD will continue to monitor the operation of dedicated stations and have regular meetings with their operators and LPG vehicle trades to review the LPG filling services, including the management and maintenance of dedicated stations so as to enhance the operational arrangements.

     Similarly for non-dedicated stations, the operators would also inform drivers, prior to carrying out major replacement or maintenance works so as to allow them to get prepared early.

(5) The current LPG filling network has a comprehensive coverage throughout Hong Kong and is sufficient in meeting the LPG filling demand of LPG taxis and PLBs.  The Government has no plan to establish new dedicated station but will continue to further expand the LPG filling network by requiring petrol filling stations, via conditions in land grant, to install LPG filling nozzles, subject to safety requirements being met, to facilitate drivers to refill their LPG vehicles.

     There are now four non-dedicated stations in Lantau, of which three are in Tung Chung and one at Chek Lap Kok, providing a total of 20 LPG filling nozzles.  They are sufficient in meeting the demand of refilling services of LPG vehicles (i.e. 57 Lantau taxis) operating in that area.  According to LPG filling station operators, as Lantau is farther away from the LPG depots, the transportation cost is higher and there are also fewer LPG vehicles refilling in the area.  Thus, the stations' operating costs are quite different from those in other areas and it is difficult to make a direct comparison in price.

Ends/Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Issued at HKT 12:41


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