Mexican drivers are increasingly turning to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to
power their vehicles, finding it cheaper and cleaner than petrol and diesel
oil.

According to the Mexican Association of Liquefied Gas Distributors and
Related Companies, 700,000 vehicles in the country now run on LPG, and
consumption is growing by 10 percent a year.

Between 1995 and 2000, the demand grew by 50 percent annually, the
association says.

The gas men are appealing to the government to ease urban planning
restrictions to enable them to establish more LPG dispatch points, of which
there are only 1,800 in the whole country.

"We are asking for an even handed policy so we can make investments that
will benefit the country both economically and ecologically," says Enrique
Arizmendi, the association's president.

According to Arizmendi, the Mexico City metropolitan area, with 20 million
inhabitants, has the greatest potential for LPG growth.

"But Mexico City is where we come up against the biggest obstacles, as
regards getting permission to install sales points."

Of the 700,000 vehicles powered by LPG (most of them used for delivery
purposes), only 37,000 can be found in the Mexican capital, he points out.

Mexico is one of the world's most prolific suppliers of crude oil, producing
3.6 million barrels a day.