Here in the rural Philippines, most people cook with LPG, i.e. propane. You see stores that exchange empty tanks for full ones everywhere, and any increase or decrease in LPG prices is front page headlines.

Actually this is good, since the alternative, i.e. using trees for wood fires, can lead to both air pollution and deforestation.

But now the LPG revolution has hit the transport sector.

Taxis in Manila are filling it up with LPG at many local gas stations. Which has the potential for helping to clear the terrible air pollution problem in Manila. (The only time I need to use my Asthma inhaler is when the neighbors burn trash, and when I go to Manila).
PCIJ, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, has a long report on using alternative fuels in the Philippines. Much of the data below comes from that article.
The government, with the help of NGO’s, is starting to fund grants for propane buses and taxis, and is also looking into alternative fuels to lower the high price of importing gasoline and petroleum products. (There are no oil fields in the Philippines).

Right now, many gas stations are starting to supplement diesel with biodiesel from palm trees. And there are plans for ethanol from sugar cane, and investigation into planting Jatropha, a plant that has a high yield of biodiesel and can grow in marginal land.

Part of the problem is that one doesn’t just plant sugar cane or palms or jatropha: You need to have processing plants to process the products, and ways to distribute the result. This may take years, and if not done correctly could lead to small farmers going bankrupt, not to mention the danger to the ecological system in rural areas from huge plantations.
However, the ability for taxis to get propane refills easily is the first step to a more generalized use of alternative fuels.


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