Autogas has seen a surge in interest from fleet managers following the conversion of a Mazda 6 to run on LPG.
Visitors to the Company Car in Action (CCA) show in June were given the opportunity to test drive the Mazda 6 LPG and discover how they can run a greener fleet whilst saving up to 40 per cent on running costs.
Autogas key accounts manager, Paul Oxford, says interest in the LPG fuelled vehicle exceeded expectations: “We have been working with Mazda for several months to offer fleet customers an alternative to petrol and diesel fuelled models, but this was the first time we had showcased the Mazda 6 LPG to potential customers.
“Initial feedback has been very positive. Throughout the two-day show, the car was very much in demand for test drives round the Millbrook track and many more visitors to the Mazda stand requested further information on how LPG could benefit their fleet. One fleet customer confirmed there and then that he would be adding the Mazda 6 LPG to his fleet list.”
The Mazda 6 on show was fitted with the latest LPG technology with the Prins Liquimax system which uses the existing petrol injectors to inject the LPG. The system is vehicle and engine specific and is currently only available on the Mazda 6. However as more vehicles are approved it will enable LPG to be fitted to the most up to date direct injection petrol engines.
At a time of ever increasing petrol and diesel prices the most attractive benefit for fleet users is reduced running costs. As LPG currently retails at an average price of 77.3 pence per litre, compared to 135.7 ppl for petrol and 139.7 ppl for diesel, savings can add up to as much as 40 per cent*.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas, or LPG, has an established and easily accessible refuelling network and is available from 1,400 public refuelling points up and down the country; with the majority of Autogas Limited LPG refuelling sites being located on Shell forecourts on motorways and major trunk roads, allowing drivers to benefit from all the normal forecourt facilities including fuel card payments.
Paul Oxford continues: “When much is being made of emerging alternative fuel technology, which can have its limitations, it’s worth reminding people that LPG is a here and now fuel which is used by over 7 million drivers in Europe. In fact globally it is the 3rd most popular road fuel after petrol and diesel.
“What drivers really like is the fact that it’s the same as driving a petrol car with no compromise on vehicle range and performance. Also given that over 10% of UK forecourts now retail autogas means drivers don’t have to go out of their way to refuel. In fact to make life easier we provide a free to download satnav site locator on our website’’
The environmental benefits of LPG will also be attractive to fleet managers trying to reduce the environmental impact of their fleet. Paul Oxford adds: “Vehicles running on LPG produce far less carbon dioxide than equivalent petrol or diesel vehicles, but they also emit far fewer of the other harmful emissions such as oxides of nitrogen and microscopic particles, known as PM10s, which are found in diesel and petrol and have a damaging effect on the environment.
“In fact European tests showed that vehicles running on petrol can produce up to 20.3 per cent more carbon dioxide than those running on LPG. In terms of oxides of nitrogen, which is equally as harmful to the environment and in particular to local air quality, it takes 20 LPG powered vehicles to produce the same amount as one diesel vehicle.
“PM10, or small particle, emissions, which have been singled out in road pollution studies as being particularly harmful to children and people with breathing disorders such as asthma, are also significantly reduced in vehicles running on Autogas; figures show 120 per cent less PM10 emissions than diesel vehicles. Even a small increase in the number of vehicles using Autogas instead of petrol or diesel could have a huge impact on the environment, given these figures.”
* Prices taken from www.petrolprices.com, 20 July 2011.