In 2005 Go LPG converted this BMW V8 using Romano 'N' System equipment. The Owner (Keith) bought it specifically to have it converted after taking our advice on its suitability. Keith paid the going rate for the car at the time, £11,000. It had full service history and had covered just 54,142 miles.
The LPG conversion cost £2000 and was completed within a few days. See the original website item on the conversion of this car
Keith works in an industry that relies heavily on statistics, so it was second nature for him to set up a spreadsheet, he has to do that anyway to keep track of his business mileage. Since the conversion was installed he has entered every journey, every litre of fuel bought (both petrol and LPG) and every mile travelled. Cost for Petrol and Diesel equivalents for the mileage covered were factored in from day one. Keith's attention to detail and his scrupulous input of data are impressive, making the whole exercise of great value to anyone considering LPG conversion of their vehicle. (Road Tax, Insurance and other costs have been left out of this comparison as they are much the same and cancel each other out)
Five years on (July 2010) we were asked to give the LPG system a service. We discussed Keith's long term results with great interest. The car has now covered a total 159.035 miles, 105,793 of those miles were on LPG. Other figures that this long-term study produced are quite amazing although this one has the most impact;
Over those 105,793 miles Keith has saved £10,224.91 by running his car on LPG instead of Petrol
When this saving is taken into account, not only was the LPG conversion (£2000) paid for years ago, Keith has almost had is money back for the car.
Savings on LPG £10,225 (rounded up)
Overall cost of car ownership (depreciation) and fuel over 105,793 miles and 5 years = £2,775
Of course the car has some residual value and it still runs just as well as it did before conversion. If Keith were to sell it today, he may recover the remaining cost, £2,775. The car would then owe him absolutely nothing after driving it for 5 years and 105,000 miles.
Now consider a similar car bought at the same time, for the same price and doing the same mileage on petrol over those 5 years. Ignoring the fact that a converted car normally sells for a higher price, let's say that it still has a residual value of £2,775. The owner will not have saved any money by running it on a half price fuel and will have spent £10,225 more when buying Petrol instead of LPG.
Which seems the most attractive?
Owning and driving a prestige car for 105,000 miles with an ownership (depreciation) cost of nothing?
Owing and driving a similar car for 105,000 miles where the owner didn't save £10,225 and ended up with just the residual value of £2,775?
We left this out of the above comparison to keep things simpler.
Keith claims for business mileage like many people using their own car for work. He asked his employers if they agreed with him continuing to claim petrol money for those (average 6000) miles per annum - only fair as he alone invested in his LPG conversion? They gave their blessing to this and said it was fine. As a result, Keith has been saving an additional £550 per annum (5 annums) in business fuel costs.
Add that £2750 to the £10.225 already saved, and you'll see that Keith is £12,975 better off over the 5 years he has been running an LPG coverted car instead of the Company Diesel he'd probably have been given.
Which would you rather do?
Which would you rather drive?
The final saving, buying your own car and not paying any company car tax is a little too subjective to determine here as Keith made his choice a while ago, but there are considerable benefits to be had by anyone opting out of a company car scheme.
After reading the draft of this article Keith wrote to me to add his own comments;
" The conversion was efficient, professional and competitively priced. In all my dealings with Go-LPG over the last 5 years I found the service to be nothing short of excellent. Steve has been extremely flexible with me and my busy job to the point of ferrying me to and from railway stations so I can get on with my work while he services my car. When I have been in difficulty with the car (there have been non-LPG related faults) he has consistently delivered excellent and knowledgeable advice. I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone for an LPG conversion and service and, quite honestly, I would be stuck without him. As you can see from my figures he has saved me a lot of money.".
Keith's car has now done 180,000 miles and is beginning to rust around the edges. A front wing got damaged in a hit-and-run incident, the Asian driver of the other car involved could not be found after he drove away from the scene at speed.
Given the cost of repairing the bodywork and the car's mounting mileage, Keith has just decided to say goodbye to his BMW V8 - after all it owed him nothing and he was well in profit with the car and conversion being paid for in fuel cost savings a long time ago.
The BMW was part-exchanged and Keith decided to go for a Merc. this time. He'll be bringing his new car to us for conversion. In some way this ends the story of this converted BMW V8 although it still runs perfectly on LPG, our orginal Romano system having fuelled it reliably for some 126,000 miles. The car will soon be with a new owner and maybe we'll meet it again some day....
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