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The BBC's Virginia Eastman
"LPG can halve petrol bills"
 real 28k

Thursday, 13 July, 2000, 08:36 GMT 09:36 UK
Liquid fuel campaign grows

Liquid Petroleum Gas costs half as much as regular petrol
By the BBC's Virginia Eastman

If you are tired of paying 50 to fill your petrol tank - the answer could be at hand.

Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is a combination of propane and butane, and it costs around 40p a litre - roughly half the price of diesel or petrol.

The Liquid Petroleum Gas Association (LPGA) has launched a campaign to make the fuel more widely available and is helping a garage a day in the UK to offer it to customers.

LPG is only really effective for relatively young cars and the conversion process costs around 1400.

The government will pay about half that to encourage people to use the greener, cheaper fuel if a car is less than a year old.

LPG has come in from the cold largely because Chancellor Gordon Brown dropped the rate of tax charged on it at the last budget to 15p a litre.


The conversion process costs around 1400
Petrol simultaneously went up by inflation plus 6%.

Companies have begun steadily to realise the benefits of lower fuel costs and have started to convert their fleets.

Nick Prince, from Hendy's Garage in Eastleigh, says that although most of the firm's business is fleet cars it has converted five private cars in the last week and there are plenty of orders in the book.

The average car engine has a petrol tank in the rear under the carriage - in the conversion process another one is fitted which takes the fuel to the engine.

LPG must be stored under considerable pressure and the new pressurised tank sits where the spare wheel usually goes.

Although the gas is highly flammable, the tank is made to take a major impact without breaking and if hit at high speed will alter shape but not burst.

It is a fairly complex procedure but users can hope to recoup their outlay in under a year.

Tom Fiddell, of the LPGA), said: "The technology is here now - it's not a technology that has to be developed over years; it's 70% cleaner than diesel or petrol".


John Bradley: LPG "significantly" reduced costs
Hampshire police, like many other companies with fleets of cars, are turning theirs to LPG because it will halve their petrol bill.

John Bradley, fleet manager at Hampshire Constabulary, said: "Our fleet covers 15,500,000 miles a year and we spend a fortune on petrol each year. Converting to LPG has cut that down significantly".

There are currently 20,000 service stations in the UK and although only 470 of them of them sell LPG, a new outlet opens daily.

The Ford Focus will roll off the production line already fit for LPG in the autumn and Vauxhall is opening facilities for converting new cars at Millbrook in the Midlands on Monday.

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