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Drivers back LPG, but industry calls for help

Over a quarter of motorists would switch to LPG, according to our survey

LPG fill up pump

More than a quarter of drivers in the UK would consider converting their car to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), according to an Auto Express survey.

The alternative fuel is widely available in the UK, at 1,400 filling stations, and could save customers £100s in costs.

In our poll last week, 26 per cent of the near-1,500 respondents said they’d think about switching. But poor promotion and concerns from car buyers and owners over conversions mean that LPG is a niche choice here, with only around 155,000 vehicles running on it.

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Asked why LPG hadn’t taken off in the UK, Paul Oxford, business development manager for Autogas, said: “There is an awareness issue. But we need greater Government and manufacturer support.”

A Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) spokesman added: “The infrastructure for plug-in vehicles in the UK is currentlybenefiting from significant investment and developing rapidly, which is not the case for LPG.”

A number of brands already offer LPG cars in the rest of Europe, though, so Oxford believes it just needs UK backing. He said: “On the Continent, 17 makers offer LPG cars. It’s a confidence thing. If it was supported by manufacturers and the Government, more people might buy it.”

Autogas launched a programme of certified fitters for conversions recently. A conversion takes around two days and costs between £1,200 and £1,600.

Petrol prices hit 5-year low, but there's further to go

LPG costs 61p per litre on average, so a driver covering 10,000 miles a year in a 50mpg diesel (£1.15 per litre) could save £491 annually – and recoup the cost of the conversion in between 29 and 37 months. LPG also brings a small saving on road tax. The hope is that LPG cars could eventually make up 2.5 per cent of those on UK roads, according to Oxford.

“It’s a niche market, but it’s a sizeable one,” he said. “We think 600,000 is an achievable target with the right support.”

Would you convert your car to LPG, or have you done so already? Let us know below...

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