Nigeria: As Gasoline Prices Soar, Some Nigerians Turn to Propane-Fueled Generators

Abuja, Nigeria — Nigeria’s weak electric grid had led many of its citizens to rely on gasoline-fueled generators for power. But the president’s controversial removal of a costly fuel subsidy in May saw gasoline prices triple, spurring Nigerians to switch to generators fueled by cheaper and cleaner propane.

Rasheed Ayodeji, a lawyer in Abuja, is one of more than 10,000 Nigerians who have switched to generators powered by liquefied petroleum gas.

The switch to LPG, also known as propane, is in response to the cost of gasoline, which has tripled since authorities ended a fuel subsidy in May.

Ayodeji said that powering his generator with cooking gas is less expensive.

“I was skeptical at first, so I said let me just give it a try because I am someone that, I’m not resistant to change. … With my experience so far with this one week, my fuel expenses have been cut by 50% for now, and with the gas I still have left, I’m very sure it will still cut up to 60%.”

In 2013, Philip Obin started importing hybrid carburetors that converted gasoline generators to run on LPG. For years, demand was slow.

A decade later, however, his sales reached a new peak. He said that following the fuel subsidy removal, he sold more than 10,000 units in less than three weeks.

“The product is selling like wildfire, and that’s because of the cost of petrol, which has moved from 190 or 180 to 550 or 540 per liter across Nigeria…We call them hybrid in the sense that it allows you to run either on petrol or cooking gas LPG,” he said.