Thursday, April 25, 2013

Running on vapors, literally, in hard pressed Cuba

Running on vapors, literally, in hard pressed Cuba
Agence France Presse
Last Update 25 April 2013 1:33 am

HAVANA: It's a wonder they move at all — the big old Chevrolets and
other American jalopies from the 1950s and 60s that ply the potholed
streets of Cuba. Now, ingenious Cubans have rigged them to run on
propane and Cuban police are cracking down, out of fear there are
"rolling bombs" on the country's roads, the official newspaper Granma
reported Tuesday.

The jimmy rig is done because gasoline is so expensive — nearly $6.50 a
gallon, payable in dollars, in a country where the average monthly wage
is around 20 dollars. Propane gas, used for cooking and heating, is
subsidized and much cheaper. In 2011, 57 cars fashioned to run on gas
were detected. Last year the number went up to 124.

And just through April 16 of this year, it stands at 110 already. "At
this rate the figure could quadruple, with the danger that carries with
it," said Roberto Rodriguez Fernandez of the National Traffic
Directorate. "It is essential to keep one of these rolling bombs from
exploding," he told the newspaper. He said most of the fuel-switching
was being done in Havana and with the big old American gunboats that are
used as privately owned taxis.

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