Fleet News

High fuel prices spark LPG row

THE rising price of petrol and diesel has reignited the row over the viability of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

With LPG prices remaining almost static for two years at around 40 pence per litre, the LP Gas Association is urging fleet operators to consider the savings that it could provide, especially as the Government is guaranteeing low-level fuel duty for at least the next three years.

But other industry figures warn of the need for caution, as low residual values, 25% higher fuel consumption and supply infrastructure could cause problems.

LP Gas Association’s director general, Tom Fidell, said: ‘Therre has never been a better time to join over nine million motorists worldwide who benefit from running on LPG.There are now 1,300 public access refuelling sites in the UK which means that it is easy to fill up wherever you are.’

But Martin Ward, national research manager for CAP Motor Research, said fuel savings could be eclipsed by poor residual values and a lack of refuelling locations.

He also felt the golden age of LPG was over. He said: ‘The people that were going to have LPG have had it and are now reverting back to very economical diesel engines. If it was going to take off it would have done two years ago. I don’t think there’s a future in it.’

Stewart Whyte, director of the Association of Car Fleet Operators, said all factors should be examined before making a decision.

He said: ‘For certain people doing certain mileage where there is good availability of LPG it could be a good move.But to suggest that every fleet should now look at LPG as their saviour is not appropriate.’

Humberside Police runs 400 LPG cars using its own bunkered fuel supply. Assistant fleet manager Mike Stamp said the force saves some £250,000 per year as a result of using LPG.

Case study: LPG v petrol

Although fuel may be cheaper, the overall running costs of an LPG vehicle may not be less than the petrol or diesel equivalent.

A Vauxhall Astra 1.4 Club 16v 5dr is £13,512 and depreciates at 15.64ppm. SMR costs are 2.12ppm.

However, the LPG model of the same car costs £14, 962 and depreciates more quickly at 19.89ppm.

Fuel is cheaper, but SMR costs of 2.45ppm mean that the total cost is 28.08ppm for the LPG car and 27.04ppm for the regular.

  • Source – Fleet Audits
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