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The Mercury Cars Guide : September 5th 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009 Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au ---11 Cheaper but we steer clear of LPG SLOW TAKE-UP: An E-Gas Falcon hits the highway during the 2006 Ford LPG Challenge, and a Holden, below. In bold numbers, service stations daily list LPG prices at half the price of petrol, but even that isn't helping enough. Neil Dowling reports DESPITE potential fuel sav- ings, daily threats of soaring petrol prices, a $2000 Govern- ment handout to LPG car buyers, the near-future demise of oil stocks and the dark cloud of pollution over the world, Australians are driving away from LPG. For the whole of 2008, only 527 LPG cars were sold to private buyers. And it's getting worse, not better. This year, in the first seven months of 2009, only 118 Australians bought a new passenger car fuelled by LPG. In perspective, to July 31 this year, 319 motorists chose a new hybrid, 9402 bought a diesel car and 163,726 now own a new petrol-fuelled car. Private LPG buyers make up an almost negligible 0.07 per cent of all private passenger cars sold this year. Holden's Commodore and Ford's Fal- con ranges are both available as off-the- floor LPG passenger cars. And most new cars have engines that are compat- ible with LPG and a healthy after- market industry exists for conversions. Next year it is expected that more LPG models will be available, including a gas version of the Holden Cruze small car to be built in Australia and the likely arrival of the Hyundai-Kia LPG Hybrid small cars. There are also plans for a new liquid-gas injection system, the same one Ford will use in next year's Falcon, to be available as an accessory for Mitsubishi vehicles such as the Lancer and Triton. Australia has an estimated 65 years of LPG and other vehicle-compliant gas supplies yet will need to supplement 80 per cent of its petrol and diesel needs within 20 years. Australia also has 3200 LPG stations --- roughly one in every two stations sells LPG --- so the fuel is frequently and cheaply available. Experts are baffled by the reluctance of Australians to embrace LPG. Mark McKenzie, the managing direc- tor of Rare Consulting, recently told the Society of Automotive Engineers Aus- tralasia (SAE-A) gaseous fuels confer- ence that LPG and associated gases could be the nation's transport fuel of the future. ''Australia has a 65-year supply of gas, which can help meet national green- house gas targets by reducing transport emissions --- the third-largest source (of CO2).'' The managing director of Orbital Gas Products, Tony Fitzgerald, says the biggest challenge with LPG is public perception. ''It is seen as a poor man's or a commercial fuel, similar to the percep- tion of diesel a decade ago.'' But Fitzgerald says it doesn't have to be like that. ''I think you'll see LPG become a well- accepted alternative, like diesel has, because of its lower emissions, equiva- lent performance and much lower purchase price. ''There's also the issue of availability. Australia has gas in abundance and dwindling oil reserves.'' Orbital Gas Products has extended its deal with Ford to 2015 and next year introduces its fourth generation of LPG systems, this time a liquid-injection product that equals or betters the performance of an equivalent petrol- fuelled engine and further reduces running costs. The system is on long-term trial with OGP in a current Falcon XR6. It drives between LPG and petrol --- via a console switch --- without any discernible difference. It is the same system that is also being trialled by HSV on a Clubsport fitted with an LS3 6.2-litre V8. Fitzgerald says the liquid-injection system brings a large car's running cost down to about 6c/km compared with a petrol car at 12.5c and current LPG technology at 7c. ''I think that new products such as next year's system for Ford and even an HSV gas sports sedan will make a lot of difference to LPG in the public eye,'' he says. ''There's also new technology coming on stream for gas tanks to suit passen- ger cars. Then there's service stations who are making the gas delivery bowsers easily available to motorists, rather than the old days when gas or diesel was over in the far corner.'' We took Holden's dual-fuel VE Ome- ga Ute for a run then compared it with its petrol sibling, the Omega Ute. The dual-fuel model (gas and petrol) is more expensive by $3400, but you get the $2000 government subsidy so the gap is really $1400. Holden claims 15-litres/100km when running on LPG and 11.3 l/100km on petrol. I returned 15.8 l/100km on gas and 12.1 l/100km on petrol. Holden's figures show that, over a 15,000km run, the LPG mode will cost $1350 in fuel based on 60c/litre. Cover the same distance in the petrol mode at $1.20/litre and it'll cost $2034. 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Finance & Insurance available. yundai et dr atch issan iida S Sedan oyota amry Altise Sedan ord ourier P ute issan X-trail S -S agon 6 issan Patrol IV DX gn sp, air, p s, dual bags, emote loc s 3,8 1 ms uto, air, p s, dual bags abs, remote loc s 84,893 ms sp auto, air, p s, p w, dual bags, abs, remote loc s, 61,202 lms sp manual, p s, alloy drop side Great wor horse, 108,39 lms uto, air, p s, p w, dual bags,abs, cruise, remote loc s, 91,2 3 lms uto, 3 0ltr Turbo Diesel, air, p s, Central loc s, seats, 8,80 ms $12,600.00 $15,100.00 $19,900.00 issan iida S sdn oyota orolla dr atch oyota Aurion A -X Sdn olden ommodore V ute olden Adventra V X6 gn oyota arago I agon sp Man, air, p s, dual bags, bs, remote loc s ,812 ms uto, air, p s, dual bags, abs, remote loc s, 2, lms uto, air, p s, abs, cruise, 8 air bags, p wind 48,994 lms uto, air, p s, cruise, p w, emote loc s, 41,2 4 lms uto, air, p s, p w, 4 air bags, abs, c c, leather, rem lc s, 83,4 4 ms uto, air, p s, dual bags, bs, remote loc s 64,6 4 lms from $18,300 - 2 available. from $20,100 - 2 available. from $30,300 - 2 available. $22,100.00
August 29th 2009
September 12th 2009