On 13 January the Israeli cabinet approved a long-term plan drafted by the Ministries of Energy and Transport to gradually reduce Israel’s dependence on imported oil by capitalizing on the nation’s large natural gas reserves. The plan calls for the replacement of oil products as the main transportation fuel by a combination of methanol and compressed natural gas (CNG), as well as the import of hybrid engines and electric cars. The goal is to reduce the use of oil in the transportation sector by 30% in 2020 and 60% in 2025.

The first step is to utilize gas reserves in order to produce methanol that will be mixed with conventionally produced gasoline. The proportion of methanol in the gasoline mix will initially be limited to 15% so as to be acceptable by existing non-hybrid motor engines. The plan calls for the ratio of methanol in the gasoline mix to rise to 85% of the final product by 2025. More importantly the government expects to utilize a combination of tax exemptions and subsidies in order to aggressively promote the utilization of CNG and the development of a CNG refueling network. (CONTINUED - 222 WORDS)