Let’s face it, the motoring feats of engineering, art, and beauty that we love and adore, sometimes even more than the love of our lives, contribute to climate change. Add to that the lack of enforcement for vehicle emission regulations, hence the number of smoke-belching cars, and you have the perfect recipe for not just climate change, but respiratory diseases and other health issues as well.
At the Toyota Hybrid Electric Technology Conference, Hon. Rafaelita M. Aldaba, Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation for the Department of Trade and Industry, says that 69% of our country’s air pollution comes from cars, and 90% of this comes from Manila alone. That’s a huge number, though not surprising considering how densely packed Manila has become for the past few years. This gets especially worse during the day as numerous cars, buses, and other modes of public transportation flock toward Manila for work or business.
As a result, the different government agencies across the Philippines has been making incremental steps to reduce the environmental impact of our country’s commuting landscape by introducing programs to modernize various modes of public transportation, thereby making our daily commuting choices more eco-friendly.
Of course, some of the solutions also include creating new infrastructure for xEVs across the nation, but considering the numbers above, wherein 90% of the overall automobile air pollution comes from Manila, what would the scenario be if one of the proposed solutions is to evenly distribute career, economic, and work opportunities across the country rather than cramming it all in Manila? The current administration is currently in the works to do just that, and it will be interesting to see how this will work out in the coming years.
Nevertheless, the event became a good opportunity for Toyota Motor Philippines, as well as various institutions, to highlight the steps being done to make xEVs mainstream in the Philippines. xEVs are expensive to build and engineer, which is why in other countries, these vehicles are heavily subsidized by the government. Just one look at the Toyota Prius’ price tag is enough to see what barriers hinder xEVs to become mainstream in our market.
A combination of making the vehicles we drive frugal and more eco-friendly, from production to recycling, as well as improved urban planning are what will truly provide the biggest environmental benefit for the Philippines. Now, if the Toyota Prius were to be priced at around P1.6 million, would you be interested to buy one? Well, that’s a story worthy of its own article.