Hard times can bring out the worst and the best from mankind. We already know how bad man can be for past news reports have spelled it all. However, in the avalanche of bad news, we are left wanting of positive developments that seem to have been buried in the inner pages.
Let us look at some of the good news amidst all the chaos. The popular saying that Necessity is the mother of inventions has never been so true in this time of need. In the Philippines, people have been coming out with creative ways to alleviate their situation, which also resulted to a number of positive though unintended consequences. In Manila, we have written about various gas savers, LPG powered buses, electric minibuses (ejeepneys), electric tricycles and now, there are LPG powered tricycles. A few hours south of Metro Manila, the tricycles of Lucena have started using Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to power their gasoline engines. As a result, they are able to save 80-83% in fuel costs. Not only that, tricycles, which are notorious for being environmental pollutants, become environmentally compliant by shifting its fuel source from gasoline to LPG.
The downsides with this scheme are conversion cost and possible fire hazards. At P14,000 per tricycle, the cost of conversion is not a small amount for a provincial driver who will end up earning less than P500/day. The danger of fire is present in bikes that have a dual powered (gas/LPG) options.Some tricycles prefers to have dual options in the event that they ran out of LPG and there is no refilling station nearby. Drivers simply switches a lever that allows the bike to use gasoline. Before tricycles shifts from gas to LPG, it is very crucial that the driver completely drains the gas from the carburetor before starting the engine. Otherwise, a mixture of LPG and gas in the carburetor can cause combustion.
Other than that, the widespread use of LPG and other alternatives to gasoline is widely encouraged. It not only increases the drivers' income, it also reduces the country's dependence upon gasoline and greatly diminishes vehicle emission, which is the primary cause of global warming. Let us not forget that less vehicle emission is also good for public health.
Back in Metro Manila, politicians and businessmen have started installing LPG kits to to make gas savers out of their their petrol guzzlers. At least one senator, a handful of congressional representatives and a good number of owners of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV's) now heaps praises upon LPG due to the tremendous savings (60%) incurred in their fuel expenses.
I remember a few years back when SUV owners arrogantly bragged that they buy big engines because they can afford to pay for its gas. It is a good thing that this crisis has made them do something positive, not only for themselves but also for this country, as well.