LPG study emits scant evidence

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 12:00am

I write in response to the article 'Fumes fuel concern over new LPG taxis' (South China Morning Post, June 16). The prominent press coverage given to this piece of research on the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in taxis leaves one wondering:

(1) It is completely inconclusive as to the effect of the fuel emissions on drivers. So why the rush and hunger for publicity?

(2) The methodology used is not clear. It is a well-known fact that new cars give off more fumes in the cab. Did the research manage to find 25 diesel taxis of equivalent age to the LPG taxis?

(3) Cars with LPG have been in worldwide use for 40 years and, so far, have proven no more harmful than diesel cars. Are there any reasons for the researchers' suspicions to be aroused?

(4) The wide coverage rewarded the researchers and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University with public recognition at the expense of creating widespread anxiety among our citizens. It might even hinder the process of LPG conversion of taxis in Hong Kong. Has any peer group reviewed the research?

It is time for ambitious academics and the sensation-seeking press to use better judgment and restraint. The Hong Kong public should be spared this totally unnecessary scare.