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STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
TOURISTS are a major influence on the high consumption of energy by transport in the Balearics.
Transport consumes about 57 percent of energy in the Balearics and accounts for 40 percent of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere in the islands, according to Pere Fàbregas, the Managing Director of the Fundación Gas Natural, who was yesterday highlighting the advantages of natural gas.

He said that it was “logical” that transport accounted for so much energy consumption in an island community as people were unused to using public transport.

He said public transport in the Balearics is “underdeveloped” and that the large amount of tourists who come to the island every year was a “major influence” on energy consumption. Fàbregas pointed out that in the last four years the fleet of hire vehicles had risen from 20'000 to 60'000. “This means the consumption of energy rises and the impact on the environment is greater,” said Fabregas.
He said that the consumption of energy by vehicles led to the creation of other gases which were harmful to human health. Fabregas said that he believed the effect of this pollution hastened the deaths of up to 17'000 Spaniards a year.

Fàbregas said that the use of natural gas as a substitute for traditional fuels could help improve this situation, above all in relation to local contamination.

At the moment there is no natural gas in the Balearics.
But the construction of a pipe, which will pump gas from Valencia, is set to change that. It is expected to be put into service next year.
Fàbregas said that its use could reduce nitrogen emissions by 80 percent and CO2 emissions by 20 percent. “It's a viable alternative among fuels,” said Fàbregas.
He added that it had not been a viable alternative to petrol in the past.
Until 2005 there was a tax that discriminated against natural gas, he said, and made its use instead of traditional fuels. “impossible”.