Fleet News

Turning point for LPG

FLEETS disposing of gas-powered vehicles are cashing in on what might be a turning point for alternative fuels, as auction bidders seem to be warming to liquefied petroleum gas.

At a recent Vauxhall sale at BCA Brighouse a dual-fuel 2000W Vauxhall Vectra 2.0 SRi saloon with 5,000 miles was sold for £11,000 - the CAP 'clean' figure for a petrol 2.0 SRi is £9,850. And a dual-fuel 8,000-mile 2000W 2.0SRi estate reached £11,100 - £800 higher than the CAP 'clean' figure of £10,300.

But valuation experts have warned that the sale could have been a temporary 'blip' brought on by last autumn's fuel crisis, and that LPG values are being boosted by the short supply of vehicles.

Craig Adamson, fleet editor of CAP Black Book, said: 'It might be a turning point, but the fuel crisis is still fresh in people's minds. We know there was no shortage of LPG during the blockades, and that might have encouraged people to consider LPG.'

CAP Black Book does not list used values of LPG vehicles, and its guide for future residual values for new cars shows a Vectra 2.0 CD Dualfuel worth £4,225 or 21% of its original price after three years/60,000 miles. This does not compare favourably with £4,450 or 27% for the significantly cheaper petrol 2.2 CD. While LPG fuel costs half as much as petrol, LPG cars can retail for about £2,000 more than petrol cars.

Adrian Rushmore, senior car editor at Glass's Information Services, said: 'Premiums for LPG vehicles improved steadily during 2000, but supply is crucial. At the moment, Vauxhall seems to be trickling them out in small numbers, and there is a finite market for those cars. If volumes increase, premiums would be in danger of evaporating.

'The fuel crisis focused attention on alternative fuels and diesel. We have seen an earlier recovery in diesel prices last year than in the rest of the market, particularly with 4x4s and MPVs. But we didn't know whether it would be sustained or was just a knee-jerk reaction to the fuel crisis.'

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