Gas Conversion

May 27, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s will give state assistance to convert petrol driven three-wheeler taxis to liquefied petroleum gas which can slash running costs by 40 percent and clear up pollution, officials said. Minister Alahapperuma says the government is looking at a soft loan scheme to cover at least half of the cost.

“Running cost of a three-wheeler comes down by 40 percent when converted to gas, so there is good incentive to convert,” he says.

Sri Lanka has 310,000 three-wheelers and they are an important voting block for politicians.

Alahapperuma says state assistance for gas conversions is likely to come with a requirement for metering. Sri Lanka’s three wheelers – unlike in India do not have taxi-metres.

Drivers quote fares from the top of their head and bargaining with three-wheeler drivers is a fine art by itself. Over the weekend Sri Lanka’s petrol prices were raised by 23 percent to 157 rupees a litre amidst a global commodity bubble, driven by massive money printing by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks that drove oil to record highs.

Transport minister Dullas Alahapperuma said about 25,000 to 30,000 Sri Lanka rupees were needed to convert a 3-wheeler ta