What Quentin Willson (Top Gear Presenter and Daily Mirror Columnist) thinks about LPG

Here is an extract from Quentin's column in the Daily Mirror, published Friday October 26th, 2001

'My economy drive's a gas'

'LPG switch has me converted'

If you fancy cutting your petrol bills in half, I've interesting news. From November 1st 2001 the government will give you 900 hand-out towards converting your car to run on Liquified Petroleum Gas.

It has been trying to make us aware of the envirionmental benefits of LPG - with dual fuel subsidies on new cars through its Powershift programme - but, from next Thursday, cars up to five years old now also qualify for a grant.

Transport Minister David Jamieson has also pledged to freeze the duty on gas until 2003. So far there are only 50,000 LPG cars in Britain, whose owners pay around 35p to 38p per litre - about half the prce of unleaded.

The UK has nearly 1,000 petrol stations selling the gas. Sainsbury's is the leading supermarket supplier and there are now LPG pumps appearing at Motorway service stations.

Most early users reckon that as long as you carry a list of participating stations, running a car full-time isn't difficult. Most conversions also offer a dual-fuel facility, which switches back to petrol using a dashboard mounted button.

As one who has been tooling around in a dual-fuel 4 litre Jeep Cherokee for four months, I've found the experience an unqualified success. It's hard to tell the difference performance wise from a petrol engine. Except when it comes to fuel bills. From shelling out 200 a week on petrol I'm now spending less than 100 on gas. I haven't had to sacrifice luggage space either, as the tank sits under the load area floor.

My Cherokee was converted by Hatfield's, a Chrysler dealer in Preston. Sales Manager Steve Davies says that LPG converted Jeeps now fetch more second-hand than the petrol versions and it's a similar story with LPG V8 Range Rovers.

So is it worth converting?

YES - If you cover more than 15,000 miles a year,run a car that averages less than 30 mpg and have 3 or 4 LPG stations in your area. You should recoup the conversion cost in 12 months, see an immediate fuel cost benefit - and you'll be doing your bit for the environment.

(Quentin Willson, Daily Mirror, Friday October 26th, 2001. Reproduced with thanks to both Quentin and the Daily Mirror).

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