RAC Cars News


Car Owners Open To Switch To LPG

By raccars Published

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A survey by magazine Auto Express suggested that over a quarter of car owners in the UK would be open to the idea of a conversion to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). LPG is already available at 1,400 service stations in the UK.

Of nearly 1,500 survey participants, 26% said they'd consider converting their cars to LPG, but providers of the fuel are calling for it to be given greater support in the UK. Only 155,000 cars in the UK can run on LPG currently, suggesting the fuel and its benefits are poorly understood by the car buying public.

LPG provider, Autogas, blamed a public awareness problem for the lack of UK uptake, and claimed that the government and manufacturers needed to provide more support. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), suggested that LPG has not been given the same development support and investment as electric vehicles.

LPG is a more popular choice elsewhere in Europe, where 17 manufacturers offer cars in LPG format, so Autogas believes that UK buyers could also be convinced, with a little encouragement from manufacturers and the Government. The firm recently introduced a certified conversion fitter programme, to help consumers looking to invest in LPG. Conversions cost from £1,200-£1,600 and take about two days.

At a cost of about 61 pence per litre, drivers could, potentially, save nearly £500 per year by switching to LPG, compared to diesel at around £1.15 per litre and an average 50mpg, based on covering 10,000 miles annually. This would see conversion costs recouped within 29 to 37 months. There are also road tax benefits for LPG cars. Autogas is optimistic that LPG penetration could reach 2.5% of cars on the road, meaning eventually about 600,000 vehicles.

Liquefied petroleum gas is commonly called butane or propane and is a flammable hydrocarbon mixture also used in cooking and heating appliances. The gas is a by-product of crude oil and natural gas extraction. It is a relatively clean fossil fuel, producing very low sulphur emissions, no soot and none of the particulates resulting from burning diesel. In some countries, LPG has been a popular choice of motor fuel since the 1940s, with more than 20 million tonnes consumed every year by more than 13 million vehicles worldwide. Another advantage is that Europe's oil refining and natural gas activities mean that it can supply almost all of its own LPG.

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