Fleet News

Ford Mondeo 1.8 LX LPG - 5,168 miles

Ford

Review

##for_mon.jpg --Right##DRIVING a gas-powered vehicle in post-Budget Britain makes good sense - at least financially.

Pre-Budget it was good for the pocket - with a 44-litre fill-up of liquefied petroleum gas for our long-term Ford Mondeo 1.8 LX costing ú18.92, the equivalent of 43p per litre. But since last month's announcements of a continued freeze on gas fuel duty, coupled with increases in petrol and diesel, it now looks like an even more attractive proposition.

What is more, again thanks to the Budget, the cost of conversion to LPG - in this case about ú1,500, although Ford has promised it will cover at least part of the cost - will be disregarded when calculating the driver's benefit-in-kind tax liability from next April.

Such a push towards cleaner vehicles is tremendous news for those organisations forward-thinking enough to be assessing LPG, or indeed compressed natural gas, as a possibility for their fleets. The problem is that there remains a gloomy perspective to this outwardly rosy picture, thanks to the UK's woefully inadequate refuelling network.

Luckily for us, the one filling station in Cambridgeshire, Taylor Motors in Peterborough, is just around the corner from our office. Great news, apart from the fact that it is only open between 8.30am and 5.30pm - times when I am usually glued to my desk.

The range of the car while running on gas also appears to vary widely. I have managed to cover 270 miles before the red light comes on. One colleague covered 320 miles before the car stopped completely. I have - by virtue of the fact that I live 30 miles from the office and, consequently, 30 miles from the gas filling station - been sorely tempted to run the car on petrol more often than gas and I am sure other company car drivers would feel the same.

As a compromise I have taken to using petrol for long-distance motorway trips and gas for my daily 60-mile commuting round-trip. Therefore my test fuel consumption is somewhat lower than the last tester, who managed to get about 35mpg from the car during a run to Bath and back. I must confess, however, that there have been occasions when I have simply not been able to get to the refuelling station when the gas has run out and have been forced to use petrol until I can find a clear half hour to visit the ever-friendly staff at Taylor Motors.

True eco-warriors would not be put off by such things, but any busy person holding down a high-pressure job will tell you that one of the major advantages of having a company car is convenience.

Natasha Rosset

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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