Under Fuel Sanctions, Gazans Power Taxis With Falafel Oil
The leftover oil from falafel, a yummy fried Middle Eastern snack, is now powering taxi cars in Gaza. Faced with fuel sanctions, petrol stations in Gaza are empty. While leftover cooking oil from street vendors, mixed with turpentine doesn’t drive like the diesel they are used to, it helps pay the bills.
"It takes time to get it going in the morning," said Hassan Amin al-Bana, 40, at Gaza City's main taxi stand: "I know it's bad for my car, but I have to pay for food for my kids so what can I do?"
According to Reuters, Gaza’s taxi drivers say the used falafel oil works much better than the fresh stuff smuggled in from the Gaza-Egypt border. They either beg for it from falafel vendors, or buy it from the vendors who are hawking it for a profit.
"It makes the cars smell like a kitchen -- you feel like falafel is following you," said Ahmed al-Beltaji, crinkling his nose. "Next week they'll be putting water in there."
Beltaji runs a falafel stand near a taxi station and started selling his falafel oil leftovers in April. Others are turning to other creative measures –– using cooking canisters to power their cars, or are traveling by donkey or bicycle.
Since the Hamas takeover last June, Israel has put sanctions on fuel and goods entering Gaza. There is a limited supply of diesel on the black market but it costs about $6 liter, more than three times the price in Israel, and more than most Gazans could afford.
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::Reuters via :: The Truth Herzl