South Korean Government To Pay For Conversions

Posted on June 18, 2008

The South Korean government said it will spend $48.9 million to help drivers transform their diesel trucks into liquefied natural gas vehicles to reduce the sector's costs due to high oil prices. The measure was among a number of initiatives aimed at ending ongoing haulers strikes, which the Ministry of Knowledge Economy estimated had caused accumulated losses of $4.74 billion. "We will decrease the number of transportation trucks to quickly solve the oversupply problem and create appropriate (trucking) charges," several government ministries added in a joint statement.

In the second half of the year, the government said it will spend $97 million to buy the trucks and the right to operate them. However, the ministries said they wouldn't apply oil subsidies more widely or guarantee basic labor rights. Both were demands made by truck drivers' unions. Tens of thousands of truck drivers have been striking recently to demand higher transportation charges that reflect high oil prices.