Yemenis convert vehicles to run on cooking gas

Yemenis convert vehicles to run on cooking gas
Feature: Yemenis take potentially dangerous step as supplies of petrol and diesel are cut due to effects of war.
2 min read
05 May, 2015
Motorbikes converted to run on cooking gas can be dangerous [Hamdan al-Aliyi]

Many Yemenis have taken to converting their motorbikes to run on cooking gas to get around as fuel shortages caused by war have forced cars off the road.

However, the improvisation has shifted the problem - there is also a shortage of cooking gas.

Abdul Wahhab Rohan says motorcycles had become the best means of transport after fuel shortages stopped many cars from running weeks ago.

"Most cabs in Sanaa are no longer working and if it wasn't for cars and motorcycles running on gas, transport would come to a halt," he said.

Abdul Wahed Samih, a motorcycle rider in Sanaa, told al-Araby al-Jadeed that converting his motorbike to run on cooking gas meant he could keep working.

Many of these motorcyclists now transport paying passengers, as the majority of cabs in the capital are not running.

He adds that he bought four gas cylinders and even converted his car to gas.

However, Samir al-Harazi, who also converted his motorcycle, said that "Demand for gas has risen now that many motorcyclists are running on cooking gas, and now even that has become scarce and its price has increased.

He said he is currently using the cooking gas he has at home to run his motorbike.

Harazi said he realised converting his engine to gas could be dangerous, but he was forced to do so to make a living. "I did not have money for over a week and I could not afford to buy food for my children."

To convert their motorbikes to cooking gas, motorcyclists install a gas cylinder behind or in front of the driver and connect it to the engine through plastic tubing.

However, the conversion is risky and can pose a danger to the motorcyclist and any passengers. Fouad al-Haymi is one of many riders who have been injured by a fire caused by a leak in the gas pipe connecting the gas cylinder to the engine.

"I was unaware of the gas leak and as I lit my cigarette, the motorcycle caught fire," he said. The fire caused first-degree burns on his neck and hands. Fortunately, he did not have a passenger on his bike at the time.

Traffic policeman Abdul Khalek Yehia said motorcycles running on gas had helped maintain traffic in the streets of Sanaa and other cities over the past few weeks as most cars ran out of fuel. He added that some motorists had converted their cars to run on gas as well.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.