Cost Benefit Analysis of Technology and Replacement Options for 2-Stroke Three-Wheelers in the Philippines

Three-wheelers play an important role many Asian cities. They do not only serve as a feeder or main mode of commute but also serve as a main mode for urban freight distribution linking markets with homes and neighbourhood shops. However, the popularity of such modes comes at a cost - air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, accidents, and other social impacts, to name a few.

Many Asian cities still have significant 2-stroke tricycles and while these engines provide high power to weight ratio, low-cost, high maneuverability and simple construction, they allow inefficient burning of about 15-40% of the fuel charge, making it a major environmental concern. Many Asian cities are taking technology improvement and investment decisions without adequate information, the issue of different types of technology solutions to replace inefficient 2-stroke tricycles such as total replacement with either four-strokes, electric tricycles, LPG tricycles or by retrofitting with direct-injection using the same 2-stroke engine, direct-injection 2-stroke using LPG, 4-stroke engine re-powering, and 4-Stroke LPG engine re-powering technologies.

"Asian cities are looking for solutions to reduce pollution from motorized three wheelers. There is a plethora of technologies being offered to them which can be overwhelming. This publication offers an objective and scientific review of these technologies and the trade-offs that come with each," Glynda Bathan-Baterina, Policy and Partnerships Manager of CAI-Asia said. This study focuses on the environmental, financial and social cost benefit aspects of the technologies concerned and the various phase-out options particular to the Philippine case. It also includes an overview of an on-going initiative to replace 2-stroke tricycles in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila.

Some of the main recommendations of the study are:

  • Prioritization of using non-motorized tricycles, locally called pedicabs, where appropriate
  • In terms of environment - electric tricycles are most efficient especially considering the currently high share of renewable energy in the Philippines, like geothermal, hydrothermal and the cleaner natural gas for electricity generation. However, the battery issues and high capital costs are the major barriers (making it financially unviable for even low interest loans)
  • While the LPG fuelled systems are generally more environmentally desirable compared to their gasoline counterparts, their acidification impacts are greater due to their higher thermal NOx emission levels
  • Adoption of new gasoline and LPG carburetted stroke options are viable when the lending rates are limited to 2% per month. Retrofit technologies are viable even at 3% per month lending rates. These options provide payback periods less than 1.5 years. LPG direct injection retrofitting offers the most financial benefits

Read the report here.

For more information on CAI-Asia and Partnership for Clean Air (PCA)'s activities on tricycle management in Philippines, click here.

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Ritchie Anne Ro┼ło, Communications Officer,

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Countries: Philippines
Topics: Two and three wheelers
Others: Spotlight