SPECIAL REPORT

Drivers, passengers say something’s very wrong with LPG-fueled taxis

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(First of a series)

Alexander de la Rosa started driving taxis for a living in 1983. At age 48, he says he’s healthy and doesn’t drink alcohol. “I smoke cigarettes, but not a lot.”

Two years ago, he switched to driving a taxi that used LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) as fuel because it was a lot cheaper than regular gasoline. It was an experience, he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, that landed him in the hospital.

Alfonso Tatad has been a cab driver since 1965. He says he doesn’t have any vice. At 67, he looks trim and fit—except that he seems to be catching his breath while talking.

“I got asthma because of driving an LPG taxi,” he says, showing an antiasthma inhaler.

Francis Barro used to drive an LPG taxi but quit after he noticed his throat always felt dry, his skin began to look rough, he had headaches and always was extremely exhausted. He was also losing weight.

Rolando Tamundo, 34, drove an LPG taxi for a year in 2008. Like the other drivers, he says he often felt his lips and throat going dry and he had to drink lots of water while driving. Then he started losing weight.

Once, when he caught the flu, he consulted a doctor. “The doctor advised me to stay away from vices … because I’m a smoker … and if it’s possible to stop driving an LPG taxi,” he said.

Putrid smell

These drivers are among many who say driving LPG-fueled taxis is harmful to one’s health.

This reporter rides a taxi to work daily. Last year, while aboard an old cab, called the “Toyota big body,” a putrid aroma assaulted my nose.

“What’s that smell?” I asked the driver, worried for my wife and our 2-year-old baby with us. “Is that LPG?”

The driver nonchalantly replied: “Wala ’yon. (Don’t mind it).”

Days later, while riding a later model cab—commonly referred to as the “Toyota new look”—the driver admitted that the unit was using LPG for fuel. There was no bothersome odor inside, but a few seconds after getting off, we coughed so hard we almost puked.

Every single day since then, the two things we ask drivers after getting into a cab are, “Have you driven an LPG taxi; and how was your experience?”

Common experience

The majority of the drivers interviewed by the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported having gone through these conditions: Dryness of throat, dizziness, headache, loss of appetite, an unusual fatigue that is “different from being tired.”

Health authorities and doctors could offer no medical explanation for the drivers’ woes, or if these were caused by the LPG gas fuel.

One driver, who usually starts at 6 a.m., says he felt so sleepy after only three hours that he had to pull over and take a nap. On waking up after a few minutes, he says, he felt disoriented, “like I didn’t know where I was.”

Barro says that before he drove an LPG taxi, he still found time to play chess while having coffee at home after working for 24 hours. “But it’s different with an LPG taxi. I drift off to sleep while sitting down with my coffee.”

De la Rosa remembers three incidents while driving an LPG-fueled Toyota 1997 model taxi in September 2009. In the first few weeks, he says, he had difficulty breathing.

In March last year, he went down with the flu and couldn’t breathe properly. He says he wasn’t asthmatic and that it was his first time to feel that way.

Four months later, he had an asthma attack and was rushed to East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City. “All my life, that was only my first time to be hospitalized,” he says.

Asked what his job was, De la Rosa told the doctor he was a cab driver. The doctor didn’t say a word and prescribed only vitamins.

Allergic reaction?

He went back to driving the same LPG taxi until November last year, when he got bedridden for two weeks after a third asthma attack coupled with the flu. A month later he decided to quit driving the LPG cab. He now drives a taxi which uses regular gas, and says his asthma symptoms have also stopped.

Tatad says he had difficulty breathing when he was at the wheel of the LPG taxi, which he drove for two years starting in 2007. “I also couldn’t understand why my head and body felt like these were inflated.”

He was at home on his day off when he felt the same symptoms, lost consciousness and was rushed to Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City. The doctor, he says, told him that he almost had a stroke and that he developed an allergic reaction to the LPG.

Tatad has since been driving a diesel-fueled taxi, but he still has asthma.

Barro says he got worried after the headaches and fatigue did not go away. He saw a doctor, who didn’t prescribe anything, but advised him to quit driving the LPG taxi and to see him again if his condition did not improve.

“I stopped driving the LPG taxi. After two weeks my condition improved,” he says.

Other drivers reveal that they had passengers, who turned out to be doctors and who warned them to stay away from LPG taxis if they wanted to stay healthy.

One woman doctor, says one driver reportedly told him that a lot of taxi drivers have sought treatment at the Lung Center in Quezon City where she’s based.

Barro relates that a doctor passenger explained to him why drivers, and passengers as well, were vulnerable to inhaling LPG fumes.

“The LPG fumes come from the carburetor and pass through the air-condition duct,” he says.

“You do not notice it because it goes through the evaporator, but the coolness from the air-conditioning unit is different, like it has a chemical coming from the LPG tank. That’s what the driver and passenger inhale inside the taxi,” Barro says.

“If it’s really good, why don’t they build car engines designed for LPG?”

“Sometimes I ask, did the decision to allow the use of LPG in taxis go through the proper procedure … Why was it approved when there seemed to be no study on its effects on people?”

Tamundo believes the problem with LPG taxis starts when there’s a leak in the hoses that connects the LPG tank to the car engine. The leak, he explains, is difficult to trace, and takes close monitoring and regular maintenance checkups by qualified mechanics.

He now drives a cab that uses diesel fuel. He said there’s no difference at all between the fuel expense, “boundary” and his take-home pay from an LPG and diesel taxi: Both consume P1,300 worth of fuel; the “boundary” is P1,500; and the take-home pay is P1,000 for a 24-hour shift.

Substandard conversion

A number of taxi drivers claim that, while the Arroyo administration may have had good intentions in allowing the use of LPG for taxicabs in Metro Manila, something went wrong along the way.

The drivers cite a Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) requirement as a crucial factor that spawned unexpected problems for taxis. Four years ago, at the height of the successive oil price hikes, the LTFRB granted a three-year extension to old taxicabs—provided they converted to LPG.

As a result, the drivers say, a lot of fly-by-night LPG conversion shops sprouted, charging much lower rates. The substandard quality of the work in these shops, the drivers pointed out, could be the cause of the leaks in LPG taxis.

Taxi operators are said to have been aware of the increasing number of drivers getting sick while driving LPG taxis.

Joli Malaki was one of 10 drivers of Basic Taxi who were asked by its operator, Quezon City Councilor Bong Suntay, to undergo a medical checkup at East Avenue Medical Center. “Order daw ng DOH (Department of Health),” says Malaki.

Drawbacks

However, Malaki adds that he never saw the results of the medical exam. He likewise notes that Suntay—who is said to also own Clean Fuel, one of the largest chain of LPG stations in Metro Manila—only wanted “healthy” drivers to have the medical tests.

At that time, Malaki had been worried because he was already experiencing dryness of throat and unbearable fatigue while driving an LPG taxi unit for Basic. He has since transferred to a regular gas taxicab.

De la Rosa says that a suggestion from the government for passenger jeepneys to convert to LPG is ridiculous. Taxi operators, he claims, are already aware of the downside of using LPG fuel for cabs. Many taxi units, especially the Toyota Vios models, reportedly break down often. He says engine overheating results from LPG gas.

Another drawback, he points out, is that an LPG taxi travels only eight kilometers per kilogram of the fuel. The driver or maintenance guy has to clean the taxi’s engine parts every week, otherwise it would consume more LPG, he explains.

Fleet reconverts

The entire fleet of TAI (Toyota Alabang Inc.) Taxi is in the process of reconverting back to regular gasoline after encountering engine troubles with LPG. “Car engines are prone to breaking down when using LPG fuel,” said one driver.

Noel Bautista, 56, operates a fleet of eight taxi units. In 2008 he had one of the units converted to run on LPG fuel, after hearing about its “benefits.”

“It’s said to be really economical,” he told the Inquirer.

He tried driving it himself. But it took him only two weeks to conclude that it’s a health hazard. “I felt my neck was always dry and stuck with some chemical. I was always thirsty. I get dizzy when getting off the taxi),” he says.

Maintenance cumbersome

After hearing about friends in other taxi companies getting sick—and at least six of them  dying—while driving LPG cabs, Bautista says he did his own research. He says the leak could be a result of inadequate teflon thread in the LPG tank nob or overheating of the carburetor.

He points out that taxi drivers who work 24 hours a day can get immune to the smell and not notice it at all. He recalls a taxi driver friend who lit a cigarette inside the cab, unaware that LPG fumes had been circulating around him: “The taxi caught fire and his scalp was torn off. He’s alive, but for a long time he had to sleep sitting down.”

LPG taxis require weekly checkups and painstaking effort from mechanics to spot possible leaks, says Bautista. Maintenance proved too cumbersome that he had his taxi unit reconverted back to regular gas.

In the process, he also removed a potential health hazard for his drivers.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Anonymous

    ilang beses na akong sumasakay ng LPG-run taxis, at pag kausap ko ang mga driver ay puro positive naman ang kuwento nila, na mas malaki ang kinikita nila at wala silang kinukuwento na apektado ang health nila.

  • Anonymous

    Before jumping into any conclusion here, can the media do some more investigation on why LPG use on public transport is popular in other Asian countries? There has got to be something missing here as other countries like Japan, Taiwan (to name a few) do not have such problems in using LPG driven cars whereas we have such problems.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ESPSLPH7VXAKKKJKB274CZOX2E Raphael

      bat media ang kelaangan magimbestiga?

  • Anonymous

    i agree with “magandanglalaki” (gaya ko)… do more researche where the faults coming from….oh yes… i visited some places outside ph and they’re using lpg on their cabs on which i always ride on them… wala naman akong napansin na kakaiba and yet these countries are very strick on health issues…. paki imbestiga mabuti!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4ZTZQN3GTI5YJNLEVQBXTS4WPI Scallop/Scalper

    With a potential health and safety hazard already being noticed and documented, concerned private sector groups and the government should step in and conduct a thorough survey and investigation of this potential problem. Best practices should also be disseminated to prevent the aerosol-fuel explosion described at the end of the story. The LTO and LTFRB should order portable gas and chemical detectors that will instantly identify if any LPG taxi has undetected gas leaks within the passenger compartment. Only accredited garages should be allowed to make the LPG gas conversions. I’ve detected some smells in LPG taxis I’ve ridden before but not in others. It would be good if the government can set up a free gas leak detection station along some highways so it is convenient for the taxi drivers to get their taxis inspected for free. Those taxis that are found to have leaks should be able to file a case against the company that converted the taxi to LPG use for doing a bad job. 

  • Anonymous

    All taxis and 16-seater coaches in Hongkong have been LPG fueled for more than 15 years. I have not heard of any safety or health issue. Most are Toyotas and some are Nissan. Engineers should investigate.

    Is this news instigated by LPG’s competitors?

    By the way, hand-held gas leak detectors are cheap and easy to buy over the internet.

  • Boy_08

    Ang LPG by nature ay walang amoy, kapag walang amoy delikado dahil di mo malalaman kung may leak. Para ito magka-amoy (ito ay amoy bugok na itlog) ay hinahaluan ng chemical na ang tawag ay ‘mercaptan’. Yung mga symptoms na ang isang tao ay exposed sa mercaptan gaya ng mga tinuran ng mga taxi drivers at passengers ay tugma sa material safety data sheet (MSDS) ng mercaptan. Ito marahil ang nalalanghap nila.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ESPSLPH7VXAKKKJKB274CZOX2E Raphael

    pag me amoy yung taxi, malamang me nagluluto dun sa likod gamit yung LPG…ahihihihi
    nauna na naman me magcomment!yehey!

  • http://twitter.com/toothpastesales be honest

    Many foreign countries taxis use LPG for a decade already. There have been no report about health problem for drivers and passengers.
    I agree that most likely the ” conversion job ” done was not precise and ” accurate “.
    The concerned car company like Toyota should voluntarily assist by having a ” test centre ” for Toyota ” converted LPG cars ” to be re-examined.
    By the way how about LTO ? How does LTO renew annually the car registration of these ” converted LPG taxis ” ?

  • calvin schiraldi

    Notice forklifts in other countries have an lpg tank at the back. These are safe WHEN DONE PROPERLY.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5BDGYBYLIDRQIM5W2KWDAWCELA Cielo

    i’ve been driving LPG in my private car for 6 years and i have never experienced any of these symptoms and i have been asking about health hazards and effects of LPG and never has there been an actual report of a person developing any sickness about LPG. DOH should have not allowed it. These are all pure hearsay, and consumed LPG as fumes will never ingnite even with flame present. The stories of Bautista about the guy who lost his hair inside the taxi is ridiculous…. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GBMBRBBPEG5LKJBY3HLJJBG7DU jose

    It is not the LPG per se that is “bad” but the shoddy conversion work that should be faulted here. I have spent some time in Korea and Italy where LPG taxis and even buses abound. You never smell that familiar LPG pungency, no leaks no worries. Apparently a lot of the major car companies in those two countries offer LPG cars as part of their model lineup. I’m not sure if that can be said for the car companies in the Philippines. I seem to recall only Toyota had that option of LPG cars right out of the dealer. Everybody else had to go to conversion shops. Of course there is no law or even regulation for these shops, treated emrely as just another trade by the DTI where most are registered. Regulation for this should have been done as early as 10 years ago. Perhaps the ever-sneering Bong Suntay can help get legislation for this done at least in QC, and maybe convince his fellows in the Councilors League to follow suit for their locales. Oh wait, I don’t think Suntay is a councilor anymore. That’s probably why he doesn’t care as much.

  • Anonymous

    Same here, i’ve been driving a somewhat late model LPG sedan for the last 4 years (and ran 60,000kms in that particular vehicle) and there are no health implications that ever surfaced to me or to my regular passengers. The car just has its regular service every 5,000kms and a check up service with the LPG installer once a year.

    They should look into the conversions done and the actual condition of the taxis in the first place. Majority of taxi operators and drivers would most likely skimp on maintenance and usually go with the cheapest conversions and repairs so thus, you get what you pay for.

    This does not seem to happen in other countries that have been using LPG for its transport fleets way longer then it has been here in the Philippines.

  • Pablo Juan

    the big 3 are happy with this article, this fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) will surely make the demand for gasoline and diesel higher and we know that they’ve recently been raising diesel prices to be at par with gasoline.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WOJKEHU4WDIXWTVH527TZ4GVOY BlueHornet

    nasa pag-convert nyan ng makina to lpg, imbes kasi regular check-up ang ginangawa sa taxi , ayun! naging regular check-up sa ospital ang bagsak!

  • Anonymous

    bakit yung kusinero namin makapal ang buhok at lalong tumataba at lumulusog eh araw araw babad siya sa kusina na gumagamit ng LPG. oh ha!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EAUFRN6E4JJ67TDR25KRGR3DFE Zen

      oo nga naman. good point. mga kusinero babad sa lpg.

  • Anonymous

    IN EUROPE, THERE ARE A LOT OF CARS FUELED BY LPG, BUT HAVE NEVER HEARD OF SUCH PROBLEM WITH THE DRIVERS HEALTH, OK? OF COURSE, THE MAINTENANCE ON THEIR VEHICLES ARE ON TOP, WITHOUT GAS LEAKING OR, AIR CONTAMINATED WITH LPG COMING INSIDE THE CAR, OK? IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THESE LEAKS ARE GOING ON IN THE PH TAXICABS, THEY HAVE VERY POOR MAINTENANCE & CHECKING OF GAS LEAKS;  ITS A MATTER OF EFFECTIVE MAINTENANCE AND PERIODIC CHECK UPS, OK? SOME BIG CITIES IN THE USA HAVE PASSENGER BUSES RUN  BY LPG, OK?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SFB5YVDI2R4WV4HWFV24GXLN5M Sam

    “Four years ago, at the height of the successive oil price hikes, the LTFRB granted a three-year extension to old taxicabs—provided they converted to LPG.” —- Natural, kakarag karag na pala mga taxi.

  • Pulis Na Pogi

    i smell the funds of the big three in this article!

    very simple counter argument:  cooks stay in the kitchen all the time.  they inhale the by products of burning lpg all the time.  they are in far worse working conditions than taxi drivers whose taxis are designed to specifically take away the fumes and by products of burning lpg from the passenger cabin.

    one or both things might be happening:  the lpg converted taxis were poorly installed or they are poorly maintained.

    either way, they pose no different danger than conventionally powered engines.  if you let exhaust leak to the cabin, you can die of carbon monoxide poisoning and there were many documented cases of these!

  • Anonymous

    Blame the LTFRB because of its creepy policy on LPG conversion and not the LPG. Or is this a maneuvering of gasoline producing companies in the Philippines because of the continuous drop of  their revenue?

  • Anonymous

    with other words,  if you want to lose weight, you do not need to invest in expensive medicaments or work-out gyms.  Just drive a LPG Taxi for a while.  lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Totoy-Mola/100001186238171 Totoy Mola

    Matagal ako nag papabalik balik sa Japan at lahat ng taxi don ay LPG ang gamit nila. Wala naman problema… Ang totoong may problema ay ang SUB-Standard na conversion na ginagawa nila sa mga taxi.

    Saka sobrang obvious naman itong news item na ito na Pro-Gas/Diesel company na ayaw sa LPG..tsk tsk tsk..

    Envelop journalism at its finest!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MZOKC6X7Q52Z4E5VLYNB7GF72Y Kaloy

    Japan and Taiwan and other countries have been using LPG for their cars for years and never reported problems similar to this.

    It’s easy to find out what is wrong with what we are doing in the use of LPG for our taxis. Send a study team to these countries using the same technology.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G3BXQOWIRBNKSJIH5BU2ZSHAII Ito

    If LPG really is hazardous to health- then it is statistically possible to see such effects on thousands and thousands of households who use it for cooking for so many decades now.  But until now there is no scientific report that can show the correlation of respiratory illnesses to LPG usage for cooking.  I mention LPG cooking cause I believe more individuals and families are exposed to LPG fumes than those used in taxis. 

  • franklyn flores

    E baka naman yung taxi before the LPG conversion ang dami na ng  singawsa mga hoses at vacuums sa engine  compartment kaya nila na sisinghot. E dito nga sa lugar namin mga bus mismo ang naka LPG. Ang strikto ng EPA saamin

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5STEU22AD7YRHQSB6RE56ZDSYA J

    LPG – being marketted as “Clean Fuel”, “Cheap”

    Even how clean LPG as fuel if the engines are old and not maintained then engine efficiency falls down. Engines of old taxis need to be overhauled yearly as most operates 24-hours. Oil and oil filter change must be done every 5000 kM or less to ensure combustion efficiency.
    – LPG is not the only culprit of health issues. May it be diesel or gasoline fueled engines they are equally worst especially with old ones. The gov’t must be serious enough to implement anti-pollution laws. It is killing us all faster than we know. As indication the hospitals, drug companies and Undertaker businesses are rising even during recession times.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arnel-Jolo/100001643013975 Arnel Jolo

     BAKA BULOK ANG TAXI KAYA SUMINGAW SA LOOB… NASA LABAS LANG ANG ENGINE AT FUEL LINES NITO BAKIT NAKAPASOK ANG FUME OR ANY GASES?

    • Anonymous

      Kasi brod ang lpg tank nasa compartment. backseat lang ang nakaharang dun kya nakakapasok pa din sa loob ng taxi yung amoy

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_A5B6G6DFLT7HKQX4HEJNN5VLVY neo

    Thailand taxi use LPG as well.  Maybe it’s really the polluted environment in Manila.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OAZENQIV4TJN2JUKJMZILWQP6Q RASor

    My car is LPG and I do suffer the same dry throat, coughs, lack of breath and asthma attacks. Cars are enclosed especially with the airconditioner turned on. Limited in space, LPG fumes are trapped, circulating in a confined space. This could be the reason why throat dryness results and lung problems manifest.

    Unlike LPG for cooking the burnt fuel/gas is dispersed in a wider area and dissipates faster in the air.

    Drivers using LPG converted vehicles should ventilate their vehicles with fresh air as often as possible to prevent throat and lung problems. I have done this and it helps.

    With high fuel costs, LPG has become the cheaper alternative to stretch income but a health risk – damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation.

  • http://pinoy-politics.blogspot.com Monsi Serrano

    This goes back to the rotten system of our country. It all started during the time of Dante Lanting. All vehicles converted to LPG even if there was no “pre test” and “post test” on the adverse effect of the fumes created by LPG.

    On the onset, these cars and other converted LPG vehicles were not designed for LPG. Thus, it is inevitable that the problem would occur in just a matter of time. Unfortunately, DOST, DOT and other agencies that should monitor this “innovation and economical solution” to the increasing price of petroleum approved this conversion in haste.

    Japan has already gave its reservation on this and yet no listened. Why? PERA-PERA lang yan!

  • Anonymous

    “a lot of fly-by-night LPG conversion shops sprouted, charging much lower rates. The substandard quality of the work in these shops, the drivers pointed out, could be the cause of the leaks in LPG taxis.” There lies your answer to the problem! The LPG is not the real problem but it’s the sub-standard and faulty conversion machines that has been installed by greedy operators to get more money at the expense of their poor drivers and the riding public! 

  • bong suntay

    all my taxi’s have been converted to LPG, i have started using LPG since 2003, and none of my drivers ever raised health concerns nor have i had a driver who became sick because of driving an LPG vehicle. The vehicle that i use to bring me to work and around town also runs using LPG and i have never experienced any of the effects that the article mentioned. puro hearsay ang nakasulat. use the internet and research about LPG as fuel, so that you will be able to come up with an unbiased conclusion. LPG has been used in many countries like Japan, US, Italy, hongkong, china, india, korea, turkey, UK, thailand, Malaysia, Poland, and australia to name a few and most if not all of this countries have been very strict on their enviromental protection laws, but still they encourage LPG use and conversion in fact australia even gives a subsidy for converting to LPG.

    obviously panira lang sa LPG ang article, dahil siguro sa decision ni sec. mar na supportahan ang conversion ng jeepneys from diesel to LPG. simple lang naman ang kusinera mo ba nagkakasakit dahil sa pagluluto gamit ang LPG. To be more scientific why not conduct a test, put an LPG powered Taxi inside an enclosed room and let it run, then do the same to a diesel fed jeepney, and gasoline fed car, run it for 30 minutes and then measure the different levels of corbon monoxide and other toxic gasses in the respective rooms to see which is more hazardous to a persons health.

    • http://pinoy-politics.blogspot.com Monsi Serrano

      Wrong logic, BS. Sayang lang ang boto ko sayo. :-( You cannot equate the gas range with a converted LPG vehicle. Because the former is designed for LPG while the latter is not. I would not have a reservation if the vehicle was really designed for LPG. In converted LPG run vehicle, the danger and the problem will inevitably come out sooner or later.

      And lastly, sure you have lowered down the cost of your gas but it’s some of your drivers alleged that your company is the only one who benefited from this, but their take home pay doesn’t. That’s why you also built your own LPG refilling station.

  • Anonymous

    LPG is a non toxic and non-poisonous material. LPG is also odorless. One can smell the LPG because of the odorant that was put into the LPG to distinguish if the LPG is leaking. The odorant is called ethyl
    merchaptan. The odorant itself is also non-toxic and non-poisonous. The odorant smells bad because to determine the leaks, if the odorant smells good then one won’t notice the leak. 

    Experiences stated by taxi drivers and passengers of discomforts during the rides were maybe due to suffocation. If the LPG is not properly converted because the operator did not adhere to the government standards and have his taxis converted into fly by night illegal conversion shop, then for sure there
    will be leaks and the taxi will not and can not perform efficiently. LPG is heavier than air so when leak occurs LPG  will remain below and when the taxi is full of LPG, oxygen will be above the LPG and passengers will be suffocated because of lack of oxygen. The discomfort of the passengers and
    drivers as well are not LPG related but due to the lack of knowledge of taxi operators who have their taxis converted illegally to save money. In that case, the operators are putting the passengers and drivers into dangers because of risk of explosion because of LPG leaks. If the gasoline engine is not converted properly, it will not run efficiently and will be more prone to high maintenance, thus, the operators did not save from illegal conversion but rather will have an expensive conversion

  • http://twitter.com/BackpackPH BackpackPhilippines

    blame not the fuel but the engine not converted right. properly designed LPG vehicles should be the one used

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5STEU22AD7YRHQSB6RE56ZDSYA J

    SO what is the problem? The LPG or the government not implementing the laws? There is no ontoward  incident yet so Hoy mga autoridad sa LTO move your heavy, odorant filled as ses para maituwid itong problema. Kayo yata ang problema e.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UZUKLMUNUB5AQNP6MOR2Q7PT5Y mervin s

    siguro po di tama ang pagkakalagay.

    and  dapat mga bagong unit lang ang may lpg apparatus , madali po ang leak pag lumang sasakyan.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GEL5M676WZ7BLFR4SNH66WKRZM Bigboy I

    meron akong friend sumakay sa taxi na lpg tapos hinimatay yung taxi driver nag leak yung lpg sa compartment.

  • Anonymous

    The article may be true if the conversion was done poorly. To ensure that the health of taxi drivers and their passengers are not affected by LPG as written above, LTO and DOH should inspect all these converted taxis on a regular basis especially those old units.

    LPG if regularly inhaled in an enclosed space can be harmful to our health and this is a serious thing. It should be addressed by our concern government entities.

    Let us call their attention for SAFETY of everyone.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a must that ones and for all the DOST will give a thorough test on how safe is the use of LPG in cars and taxis to put a period on this problem!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XY3GGHWDTCKXD3YI5WX2I4RRDY dodo

    LTO wala lang. nagtatago sa mga blind spot para may matikitang drivers,,,,,, yan ang mga swapang

  • Anonymous

    The whole article smells of heavy bias. While I remain skeptical on the effects of LPG on drivers and passengers, the way this article is written makes me want to pass it off as propaganda for whoever paid Pocholo Concepcion to write this travesty of objectivity. One or two people who aren’t experts on the matter don’t make good sources. What a crock. This publication has really gone a long ways down.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MZQZKXC3M7UO2EOIK62JIMEU2U Tempest

    I recommend that you, Mr. Pocholo Concepcion, read Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. This assignment of yours surely is a dream come true after all the celebrity articles you’ve churned out in the past. Do you have proofreaders in PDI? Or is proofreading already a thing of the past?

  • http://jaoromero.wordpress.com Jao Romero

    obvious demolition job. Pocholo, parekoy. sira na ang pangalan mo. wala nang maniniwala pa sa iba pang isusulat mo.

  • Anonymous

    Whatever types of Fuel put into and takes the place of another as good replacement for gasoline… harmful effect on human being in a close-sedan vehicle must be taken. The Department of Energy and Safety should spearheaded the drive to address incidents of health related set back due to LPG exposure.   Degree of toxicity must be determined and what prevention should be taken.  The transport industry won’t resort to secondary option if not for the high cost of customary fuel.

  • Anonymous

    once upon a time but not so long ago, i rode a taxi from airport to somewhere in pasig city. i can see the difference between taxis n the phils and in other countries. would you believe that the taxi i was riding was almost more than 15 years according to the driver?!!! why i bothered to ask the driver about his car age? it s because i can’t stand with the smell and dust inside his cab and the aircon is no longer emitting freshness! so i resorted to just opening the windows and enjoy the smoke outside!

    LTO/LTFRB hindi po ba pwedeng maglagay nman kayo ng limit sa mga sasakyan na dapat umaandar sa kalsada? 15yrs taxi?? bawasan nyo nman ang life ng mga sasakyan be it public or private use! yan ang rason kung bakit ang trapik sa pinas ay hindi masolusyunan kc khit for junk ng sasakyan basta umaandar pa rin ay pwde pa ipasada. kaya ang labas ano? khit sa edsa meron nasisiraan ng sasakyan kya kumukupal ang daloy ng trapiko. mga kapatid ang taxi dapat ay pinapalitan maximum na ang 8yrs o sge khit 10yrs na. mga operators, sobra nyo ng pinagkakitaan ang taxi nyo sa loob p lng ng 5 taon!

    cguro yan ang pagtuunan ng pansin ng gobeyrno…ang paglimita sa pagrehistro ng mga lumang sasakyan….pra mabawasan ang sobrang dami ng sasakyan na nagiging rason ng sobrang trapik.

  • Anonymous

    Somebody has to conduct a study about the effects of riding a vehicle that runs on LPG.

    I once rode a cab that ran on LPG and I had a hard time breathing.

    Obviously, these people do not know the dangers of LPG. They are only drivers. I highly doubt that they even know the meaning of LPG… let alone the harm that LPG could bring.

    • Dark Lentils

      “They are only drivers. I highly doubt that they even know the meaning of LPG… let alone the harm that LPG could bring.”

      they are ONLY drivers????

      • Anonymous

        Yeah… So what’s your point?

        They are only drivers so it is not their job to conduct a study.

        It is also the same as saying that they are only engineers, so it is not their job to diagnose a patient.

        What’s with the attitude?

    • http://jaoromero.wordpress.com Jao Romero

      i think your difficulty in breathing is caused by your forgetting to breathe. after all, stupid ppl do that sometimes. they need an alarm to remind them to breathe.

      • Anonymous

        I guess so.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G3BXQOWIRBNKSJIH5BU2ZSHAII Ito

    So what’s dangerous? The probable widespread inept way of converting to LPG or the LPG itself? All kinds of fumes regardless of source- it may be gasoline and its variants or diesel fuel if these are leaked and breathe in by users, will ALL cause respiratory ailments. There is general warning that all fuel fumes must not be inhaled no matter what kind of fume is unnecessarily expelled into immediate surroundings.

    Now- is LPG more dangerous than other fuel products? That is another matter to be studied.  But there is one important consideration not mentioned here and that is for so many decades now hundreds of thousands of individuals or even millions probably were exposed to certain amounts of LPG fumes because LPG is used for cooking.  If LPG is truly MORE dangerous than other fuel products then there would have been clear evidence pointing to sicknesses among families, kitchen staffs etc. Sino ba ang hindi magkakasakit kung meron naka leak in na gasoline, diesel or LPG sa sasakyan?

  • Anonymous

    The government should cancel or stop ASAP all public vehicles operating under this category and immediately start a thorough investigation. The government should consider public safety first before anything else. Please donot let this get out of hand, while the number of incident are still managable start to correct the mistake. Be aware there are children and teenagers aside from the adults that may be using these vehicles and being exposed to hazardous chemicals. ATTENTION: DPWH, DOH and LTO

  • Anonymous

    The article’s a hack job if I ever saw one. You think the people are stupid? Dream on. With improper installation or poor maintenance, the fumes from fuel would leak, be it LPG, diesel or gas. Kaya natawa na lang ako nang sabihing LPG lang may ganitong sakit.

    As for the government, to make it even better, use the natural gas extracted from Malampaya to run all the country’s public utility vehicles. Tingnan ko lang kung di mataranta mga oil companies.

    Our dependence on foreign oil is just sickening and unnecessary.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B2HL3JDDN2S7N3MEF3QREDB3DU Marlou

    Super biased article, obviously, PR to ng oil companies or whoever are threatened by LPG-run PUVs.  Nasan na and fearless news, balanced views, Pocholo Concepcion at Inquirer?

  • Anonymous

    I have driven a truck ran with LPG or natural gas for many years with no health issues whatsoever. It is the pollution in the air being exposed by taxi drivers are the one causing all these health issues. The only potential problem that I see in LPG is explosion originating from it due to negligence.. OIL companies, how I wonder how much extention of your arms is involved on these scheme(news) to scare people using LPG for your selfish ends. .  We should all use natural gas instead which is much cleaner than regular gasoline or diesel. This news article is a scam…….and deceiving. Environmental protection agency should be the one making these assessment not by mere drivers and POCHOLO.

  • Anonymous

    Before focusing on the effects of LPG/CNG fuel on taxis, drivers and passengers, let me first comment on my general impression of Metro Manila taxis and their drivers: 

    1) most are filthy, unwashed, smelly and downright dirty
    2) there are drivers that are rude, discourteous and downright dishonest
    3) there are drivers that do not know their way around, hence they prefer routes that are within their comfort zones
    4) most air-con taxis do not operate their air-cons at the proper setting, so the cab is hot and humid inside.
    5) there are drivers that drive recklessly and dangerously
    6) the thing I hate most about local taxi drivers is when they refuse to take in passengers, which is a blatant violation of their public transport franshise.
    7) i hate drivers that negotiate the fare, instead of flagging the meter.

    Now since the article is the first of a series, I  wanted to refrain from making a comment on till i read the full article but somehow I cannot help but say these: 

    1) Have PDI’s high journalistic standards degenerated into one-sided, poorly researched tabloid pieces? Whatever happened to accuracy? For example what’s this crap about “toyota big body” and “toyota late model”? A cursory research on Google would have come up with a proper model designation.
    2) The instances cited in the article are very subjective. The author should have been advised by the editor that the subject is technical, hence the need to present more scientifically verifiable data. For example, did the author even research on the kinds of CNG/LPG conversions and installations? Did he even cite data from the side of the installers?
    3) How many taxi passengers were interviewed for this article? How many drivers? Where’s the statistical data?
    4) Research, research, research! What’s this crap about one TAI taxi driver claiming that the entire TAI fleet have been reconverted to gasoline? Is it not proper “journalistic” routine to interview the TAI management? Which CNG/LPG conversion brand did TAI use for their fleet?
    5) Did the writer even check on the state of maintenance of the taxi units?
    6) A subheading of “Maintenance Cumbersome” leads nowhere in the article that supports the claim
    7) Did the author make a comparative study of gasoline and diesel powered taxis?

    There may be some truth to the claims some drivers, passengers and operators about the dangers of CNG/LPG, but sadly this article obfuscates the whole issue. I have ridden taxis many times and I even ask some drivers if their units are CNG/LPG powered or gasoline powered (if I find the rare driver who’s courteous), but honestly it is really hard to determine if the dizziness I feel while riding a taxi is the result of CNG/LPG  or one of the five complaints I listed on top.

    I hope the writer of the article redeems himself in the next installments or I would flatly suggest that he refrain from trying to be a serious journalist.

  • Anonymous

    SUGGESTIONS:

    1.  better use COMPRESSED NATURAL GAS (CNG) INSTEAD OF LIQUIFIED PETROLEUM GAS (LPG)
    2. drive away old cars, i.e. taxis, buses, jeepneys and private cars that are more than 10yrs old because these type of vehicles caused not only drivers health and safety but all people of the republic being the number 1 smoke emitters. old cars also pose risks to commuters due to breakdown and a consequence to that s jam.

    • Justin Martin

      Please remember that a brand new car is very expensive. Not everyone can afford to buy a new car every 5 years like in Japan. Having a  car here in the Philippines is a luxury not a necessity. If we have quality  public transportation, then this is no problem but in reality, this is not case here in the Philippines. We could teach drivers proper car maintenance. A well maintained car can run well over a number of years. Even new cars breakdown without proper maintenance.Again, maintenance.

      • Anonymous

        @justin: may tama ka!
        1. brand new car is expensive – pls don’t use it as an alibi for you to resort to 2nd hand or 3rd hand car just to satisfy your luxury. after all riding in an old car is not luxurious at all and not a necsessity as you said.
        2. Not everyone can afford to buy a new car every 5yrs. – i said at least up to 10yrs. if you cannot afford it then don’t buy. in that case you are helping our country ease the traffic problem, you help save the earth by not using petrol/lpg and most of all you don’t contribute to the global warning.
        3. No quality public transport in the phils – if the gov’t can see that this country is lacking quality public transport i believe it will find ways to solve the problem by providing big buses and add’t mrt/lrt. but as i see it, how can a govt do this if all avenues are already full of (delapidated but owners dont like to junk) vehicles that move like snails? hey, road widening and add’l flyovers will not help to solve the problem. bka yan ang nsa isip mo? think deeply the consequences!
        4. drivers (esp. cab drivers) will not take an hour everyday to clean his cab as they are not the only one driving it. besides, they are running out of time as they have to pay for the rental. sayang ang oras!
        5. A brand new car up to 5yrs is not prone to breakdown – walang may-ari ng private car na hindi inaalagaan ang kanilang pinaghirapan. yong iba nga mas mahal p nila eto kesa sa asawa o gf nila eh! pero iba ang sitwasyon ng taxi.

        alam mo rin ba justin na ang mga pasahero ngyon ay ayaw ng sumakay sa mga luma at mababahong taxi kc parehas din naman ang bayad sa bagong taxi? besides, some taxi drivers are also manloloko at hindi marunong magsukli!!!!!!!!! so bkit magtitiyga sa luma????

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2XIUSD43FIA5VVWEAMH6EFV4GY glenn

    This is simply pathetic. You mean to tell us that the LPG that people use for every day inside their homes is dangerous when you use it outdoors for cars.
    So much of the article is anecdotal. This is why we are not an industrialized country. Where is the government? Where are the professional organizations and academics – medical doctors, engineers, professors? Where are the entrepreneurs, innovators and businessmen? Where is the scientific research?
     
    The use of LPG for cars is not new. The moment people started using them,  the government should have looked at the safety of their use advice.  We could have used as this as an opportunity to build engines that specifically for LPG/natural gas. Instead it is being treated like old wives tales and superstition.
     

    • http://pinoy-politics.blogspot.com Monsi Serrano

      Wrong logic, Glenn. You cannot equate the gas range or gas stove with a converted LPG vehicle. Because the former is designed for LPG while the latter is not. I would not have a reservation if the vehicle was really designed for LPG. In converted LPG run vehicle, the danger and the problem will inevitably come out sooner or later.

  • Anonymous

    LPG is clean..does not pollute the air that much…i rode a taxi that runs with LPG once and that was that…there was no smell, but what is scary is that this tank could explode anytime unexpectedly…right now, nothing of that kind has occured yet…but do we have to wait ’til someone gets hurt???…have all these lpg cabs inspected…by the way…i ride jeeps or lrt  no more cabs for me…

    • http://jaoromero.wordpress.com Jao Romero

      you should also stop living in homes with LPG. baka sumabog rin ang mukha mo pag nagluluto ka.

      the risk of LPG exploding and the gasoline gas tanks exploding are about the same. pag may leak at nadikit sa flammable material, sasabog. it has nothing to do with being LPG or being gasoline. has everything to do with the security of the container.

      • Anonymous

        for your info, i don’t use LPG for cooking….i have an electric stove and oven…and i have a 24Kw standby generator so i never lose power…so there….kung LPG ang pang luto mo, sana huwag sumabog sa mukha mo…dahil pangit ka na,eh lalo ka pang papangit…he…he….he….

      • http://jaoromero.wordpress.com Jao Romero

        sosyal ka pala. o di kaya’y nagrarason lang? aminin!

        actually, pag nasabugan ako sa mukha at nabuhay pa ako, aayos ang pangit kong mukha. yung tabinge, papantay. hahaha.

      • Anonymous

        inaamin ko…hindi ko na banggit na may swimming ako na may spa….i was gonna invite you, but i changed my mind…i socialize with my friends, of course…ikaw, baka wala kang mga kaibigan…my friends come to my house and we barbecue whilre we’reswimming…i also have a night life…i eat out every friday night with my family and friends….should i also tell how much i make?….huwag na…baka sabihin mo nagyayabang lang ako….i’ll give you a hint…i make more than the salary of any politicians…huwag lang isama ang mga kurakot nila…. 

      • http://twitter.com/Rhymzilog Rhym Zilog

        Technically and chemically inaccurate or incorrect. Liquid does not explode but gas do.  So, there should be proportional presence of oxygen and ideal atmospheric pressure before an explosion or controlled combustion occur. Gasoline in liquid state just burn and so LPG but they have different boiling point and different characteristics and chemical compositions.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_A7PQXB4HHZB7KH4BXK7LJXGNOY Mike

    I don’t agree with this article. Just imagine Thailand, 100% of their Taxis , Old and New uses LPG and CNG and I never heard anything about them. Everyday, I rode my Thai’s friend car, its BMW model mid 90’s, he uses LPG and uses that car for almost 6 yrs..Never heard any complain from him, he still healthy, maintenance wise, its the intake rubber tubing life became shorter as compare if one uses gasoline..That’s why I can’t really understand why we keep on complaining this safety and health issue if once uses LPG or CNG on their car. Not only Thailand, but EU countries too uses this.
    If ever there’s a problem, I believe it is related how they make the conversion? If you smell LPG inside the car, then, common sense only, POOR WORKMANSHIP..CHEAP MATERIAL USED and NOT CERTIFIED SHOP…Yan ang problema, hindi yung pag convert ng Gas Engine to LPG Type.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IC3LXIXDLXPN224JR6HP3PL3MQ reynaldo

    Regardless of what others say, may naamoy talaga akong kakaiba sa mga LPG fueled taxi cabs when I rode them. Kawawa ang mga drivers. This is not a PR job of anybody and this should have been written about long ago. kung sumakay man ang mga oil companies sa issue, dahil may sasakyan talaga.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MTYSEV6H7OPKQLJCUHIQN5WDZI Amega Amigo

    hoy inquirer! let’s not jump into conclusions. there should be a study to confirm these findings. if i were you, instead of writing something that would alarm the public, please sponsor a study instead or atleast get someone to study this. don’t just report something and hold lpg taxis accountable. 

  • http://pinoy-politics.blogspot.com Monsi Serrano

    While I agreed that LPG has been used in other world for their vehicles, please be mindful that these vehicles were designed for LPG. Let’s keep an open mind. In our case, the vehicles that used LPG are “converted” and thus, the problem of leakage cannot be avoided.

    If you can see in my previous post, I challenged Bong Suntay, one of those who pioneered in the conversion of gas to LPG about his logic that if LPG is bad then those who are cooking should have complained as well. But gas stoves and gas ranges are designed for gas (or LPG) while these vehicles being converted are not. Where is the Corporate Social Responsibilities of these taxi operators? 

    I have nothing against vehicles using LPG as long as these vehicles are truly designed for LPG. Otherwise, the risks and the problem of safety will always be a concern. But if the vehicles are designed for that, then the issue of safety will not likely to occur. Let us not question the experienced of these people, it is good that this issue has been brought up now in order to address it once and for all. Let’s be PROACTIVE, not REACTIVE so that we will not fall flat on our face and people who found this safety concerns tell us — I TOLD YOU SO!

  • Nikki Sacramento

    That’s in Thailand, but  not in Philippines. The concern of safety and health issues are valid which you pointed out clearly on the issue of materials, craftsmanship and certification. Everybody goes gaga on the LPG without assessing wholly the issues such as these.

  • Anonymous

    There are many things that can go wrong with having LPG systems in a car if they are not properly maintained. I have been in several taxis which smell of the gas because there is obviously a leak in the system. The system should be inspected monthly by a regulated authority along with having the meters calibrated. If you smell a foul odor it is because there is a leak in the system. I was in a taxi one time and I could hear and feel the LPG tank banging and sliding around in the trunk. 

    LPG overall is a great and safe way to travel if it is maintained and implemented in a safe manner. The climate here is pristine for it’s use.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VBMXS5JWG253D67PPYO6IQEXPI ehnriko

    There was a stupid comment in Television last night about this LPG defender that if LPG is bad, then all the Housewives would have fallen sick. What a stupid comment. LPG in house use is OK since it is totally burned for the cooking use. While in the internal combustion engine… the ODORANT in the LPG is a slow burning fuel which is not burned during the short Combustion cycle, this is the one that escapes through the tail pipe that we all can smell! The air draft at the back of the vehicle during motion is what sucks this gas into the Cars cabin.  How bout that for an explanation? – Go FIGURE it out for yourselves!  

    LPG is not bad per se… but the ODORANT that is included in its’ package is.  Anyone ever questioned this??? yet?

    Why is is necessary to have this ODORANT in LPG? they say its for Safety reasons… so that one may smell a leak. Thats a valid reason… but still, it is still not a safe Chemical whatsoever.

    Point is:  LPG as an alternative fuel – is a stupid way.

    Why?

    LPG is only half the cost per liter of Diesel or Gasoline…

    But for a car to cover every kilometer… it needs to consume TWICE the volume of LPG vs. Gasoline or Diesel.

    Thats because the energy density of LPG is far Less than that of its Gasoline and Diesel counterpart.

    In the end, Therefore… NOTHING IS SAVED!

    Just more spending for the Stupid FIlipinos who fall for this Stupid TRICK by the Elites.

    Make a CHOICE! – Are you one of the Stupid Filipinos? Or are you among the Enlightened and Empowered Ones???

    Who cares if Queen Elizabeths’ Rolls Royce is LPG equiped? Who Gives a SH##T!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VBMXS5JWG253D67PPYO6IQEXPI ehnriko

    I beg to disagree… but my 18 year old car emits Far Less Emissions (o.02%ppm of CO) than any Brand New Car in the market… and it’s not even LPG.

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