Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shift to LPG-fed jeepneys seen‏

A major chunk in the country’s market for diesel is projected to shift to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) upon the completion of a study on the economic viability, environmental soundness, health impact and social acceptability of a public jeepney that is powered by a brand-new and Euro-3 rated LPG-fuelled engine from Japan.

This was according to Cielo Fregil, Managing Director or Global Ambient Hi-Technology Systems Inc (GATES) during the Valentine’s Day launch of the study, dubbed as "Love the Air, Save the Planet" at the Environmental Studies Institute of Miriam College (Miriam ESI) in Quezon City.

The study will be conducted by the collaboration of GATES and Philippine Automative Depot Inc. (PAD Inc.), Miriam ESI, Citizens Organization Concerned with Advocating Philippine Environmental Sustainability (COCAP), Partnership for Clean Air (PCA) and Clean Air Initiatives Asia (CAI-Asia).

"We foresee that a huge portion of the market for diesel consumed by the public jeepney sector would shift to LPG as soon as we are done with the validation of the study because of its much needed and desired economic and environmental benefits that all sectors of society have been wanting for so long," Fregil emphasized, adding that the same shift happened with most of the taxi fleets.

She said the gains would be derived from the big difference in the pump price of LPG and diesel, which is now pegged at Php28 and Php41.50 per liter, respectively. She explained that the estimated additional mileage of 6 to 7 kms/liter by an LPG engine as opposed to diesel’s 4 to 5 kms/liter will also mean an additional benefit.

Rene Pineda, Jr., COCAP and PCA president, pointed out that the bigger winner of the result of the study is the environment because LPG is expected to have better and more desirable emission than diesel, especially if the former is efficiently combusted by a brand-new, direct-injected engine.

"We, in the environmental movement, are so critical about emission standards and the flagrant violation thereof because of the worsening air pollution level that has already breached by more than 200 percent the ‘livable’ threshold," Pineda stressed.

He said the study is a "win-win" approach to curbing air pollution and improving the economic lot of the public jeepney sector, adding that they also intend to validate LPG’s capability to lessen the considerable amount of noise pollution caused by diesel engines.

Members of the group said they would require more than three months conducting the study to cover all possible factors as extensively as possible.


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