LPG – Is it worth the conversion?

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If you’ve had your fill of fuel pump price rises, you may be interested to know there is a way to fuel your car that is better for the environment, better for your engine and is even better for bank balance as it costs around half the price of petrol and diesel. Oh, and it doesn’t require you to pour any cooking fat or condiments into your fuel tank!

The fuel in question is LPG – you may have seen it on the forecourts under the Autogas banner –but, despite its many benefits, it’s still yet to fully capture the imagination of UK motorists as less than 1% of the 31million cars on the road have been converted. Which begs the question, is it really worth getting your car converted? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons...

LPG – The benefits…

The main benefit of converting your car is the reduction in fuel costs, which can be cut by around 40%. This is because LPG is subject to much lower fuel duty than both petrol and diesel and although it’s less efficient - to the tune of around 15% to 20% fewer miles per gallon – the reduction in costs more than makes up for this. If you get your car converted then you’ll be entitled to a reduction on your road tax of between £10 and £15. LPG is a cleaner-burning fuel that produces fewer particulates and so can actually prolong the life of many engines. In addition, LPG cars give off 14% fewer CO2 emissions than petrol cars and 10% fewer than diesels, and also produce 50% fewer nitrogen oxides than petrol and 20% less than diesel.

LPG – The drawbacks…

Arguably the main reason why more people aren’t converting to LPG is because of the time and cost involved in fitting a new fuel tank – which could see you without your car for the best part of a few days and leave you around £2,000 lighter. In addition, you’ll have to have the tank serviced every 12 months at a cost of around £120, although a more cost-effective way of doing this to have the work done when you have your normal annual service carried out. The limited availability of LPG is also cited as a reason by some, but there are actually over 1,400 filling stations across the UK that stock LPG, so you should never get caught short – and even if you do run the tank dry your car will automatically switch over to run on petrol again.

LPG – Are you a convert?

If you are running one of the less fuel-efficient cars on the road then an LPG conversion is definitely worth considering. For example, if your car covers 30mpg on petrol and then loses 15% running on gas that works out at about 25.5mpg, which is the price equivalent of about 45mpg. So it’s certainly more cost effective. And although the initial outlay could be a problem, if you can afford it then it will have paid for itself within about two years if you cover around 15,000 miles each year. If you do become an LPG convert, then make sure the conversion is carried out by an approved LPGA approved installer and be sure to inform both the DVLA (to make sure you get the reduction on your road tax) and your insurance company as having an LPG system fitted is technically classed as a modification. However, despite this you shouldn’t see any increase in the cost of your cover.

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