Fleet News

Ford Mondeo 1.8 LX LPG - 14,500 miles

Ford

Review

##mon4.jpg --Right##THERE are two distinct viewpoints developing in the office over our bi-fuel Mondeo on whether it offers enough benefits for fleet managers and company car drivers to choose it over a conventional model. The bonuses of greener motoring are not at first apparent: on first appearance, they could easily be seen to be outweighed by the losses.

High price premium, worse fuel consumption and loss of space - the list seems to go on. A high price to pay for lower emissions. But bring out the calculator and some of the benefits become clear. With the mpg figures we have been recording, over 60,000 miles on unleaded petrol, the Mondeo would cost ú4,752, whereas with gas the cost would be ú3,393, a saving of ú1,359.

That is nearly enough to cover the cost of the conversion and with the Government pledged to encourage 'green' motoring by increasing the price differential between traditional and alternative fuels through duty increases on the former, the savings can only go up.

But there are still problems. Residual values for bi-fuel vehicles have been shown to be woefully less than their petrol counterparts. Research by CAP Monitor predicted residual values for bi-fuel Vauxhalls and Volvos would be several hundred pounds below their petrol equivalents, despite the price premium for the gas conversion.

You can be sure this problem will be the same whichever manufacturer's car it is, so even if you break even through fuel savings, then there is still a long way to go to reach comparable wholelife costs with a bi-fuel car. We have also documented the woes of finding somewhere to fill up during the past 14,000 miles as well. There is only one site in Cambridgeshire and a similar number in some other counties.

Whether fleet managers mind their drivers touring the countryside clocking up many extra miles trying to be 'green' is open to argument. Debate in the office has been lengthy and will mirror discussions in fleets throughout the country.

I would be happy to use the bi-fuel Mondeo as a company car driver, but as a fleet manager, I would certainly want to see the price premium for the conversion removed before I considered taking up the 'green' alternative - even with the pump price difference.

Since the last report, the Mondeo has been in for repair after a nasty scrape courtesy of a pillar in the office car park. It was ironic, as I was setting off to see a fleet manager about his accident-free record. However, thanks to PHH Accident Management, the car was sent off for repair with the minimum of fuss.

John Maslen

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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