Fleet News

Ford Mondeo 1.8 LX LPG - 6,906 miles



##for_mon.jpg --Right##DRIVING around in a gas-powered vehicle, particularly one covered in graphics proclaiming it as such, has an odd effect on members of the public. Strangers wander up at petrol stations, in car parks and in the street to enquire about the workings of the engine, the cost of fuel, where you can fill up and how the vehicle feels to drive.

The kind of people who would not show the slightest interest in the latest diesel or petrol technology suddenly become thirsty for details of engine structure and tank capacity. Others find it hard to believe that the car is truly powered by gas, deciding instead that I am driving around in some kind of April Fool's Day joke.

The bi-fuel aspect appears to baffle most passers-by. One man even came up to me while I was filling up with unleaded at the local service station to ask me whether I was aware that I was adding petrol to a gas tank. I, once again, found myself explaining the concept of bi-fuel technology.

All this leads me to the conclusion that, despite growing awareness of alternative fuels within the fleet sector, the majority of drivers - and that probably includes most company car drivers - remain unaware of their existence, let alone their merits.

Fleet managers are in a great position to pass on information they have gleaned on the subject, but getting drivers into the vehicles and more vehicles on to the road is the only way to change the perception of 'green' fuels. The fact is that LPG has been around for decades, mainstream volume manufacturers such as Ford and Vauxhall are taking it seriously and the LPG vehicles of today run as well as their petrol or diesel counterparts. The only way I can tell whether I am running our long-term Mondeo 1.8 LX on petrol or LPG is to look at the switch which allows me to flick between the two.

The only genuine problem I have encountered is the much-publicised lack of refuelling infrastructure. Although this is now being addressed to some extent by companies such as Calor, Jet, Shell and BP, there are at present few places to fill up. This also means shopping around for the cheapest LPG is not really an option.

A 44-litre fill-up of liquefied petroleum gas for our long-term Mondeo costs รบ18.92, the equivalent of 43p per litre from our local supplier. Experts tell me I should be paying nearer 40p, but as the filling point we use is the only one open to the public in the whole of Cambridgeshire I feel my bargaining powers are somewhat limited!

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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