It would seem us Brits have a problem accepting Liquified Petroleum Gas as an alternative fuel. Although there are seven million LPG-powered vehicles in the wider Europe of those cars only 150,000 can be found on UK roads.
The criticisms of this alternative fuel are many. Some worry about the lack of infrastructure for refuelling even though there are over 1,300 refuelling sites in the UK and these numbers are growing. Some are concerned that gas power is dangerous even though research carried out by the TNO research institute in Holland shows that cars running on autogas are actually safer than their petrol-powered counterparts.
You might also be thinking that LPG is a trend on the way out as other eco-friendly powers begin to enter the market. That hybrid and electric vehicles will in turn supersede LPG is not entirely clear, as LPG will still offer excellent range compared to EVs in particular.
And having your current car converted is still cheaper than buying a new hybrid. Conversions will also offer the peace of mind which comes with a dual-fuel tank system.
Gas is also cleaner than either petrol or diesel and produces less harmful emissions, also offering a cost saving of over 20% on diesel and up to 40% on petrol power.
Evo Magazine's long term test of a LPG-powered Alpina B10 managed a whopping 50% improvement in fuel costs when compared to its petrol-powered equivalent. Converting a car that does 30mpg and travels round 12,000 miles a year will typically save you around £850 in fuel costs, a saving not to be sniffed at during these straightened times.
You should also consider the savings to be made on road tax and, for those cursed with driving in London on a regular basis, the further savings which can be made on the congestion charge where you qualify for a discount.
This sounds almost too good to be true. But what about the nitty-gritty of converting your car to LPG?
The process involves fitting a second fuel system to your car with the new tank usually installed in the spare wheel space or boot. To give you an idea Evo Magazine paid £2,408 for their bi-fuel BMW to be converted. There are several reputable companies in the UK which will do the job for a similar price.
Using the Greenfuel Company's calculator, if you convert a 2002 Audi A4 1.8T with 100,000 miles on the clock doing an average mileage of 15,000 per year, you would save £1,037.45 after one year in fuel cost. Over four years that's £4,149.80.
And the cost of the LPG conversion? £1,527.50. That ain't a bad saving overall.
Almost all cars, new and old, can be converted. So for those in the know and those prepared to invest the conversion monies, LPG remains a valid and enticing proposition.
The biggest hurdle seems to be surmounting the misconception which surrounds this alternative fuel.