LPG – Worth It?
Liquid Petroleum Gas, once on the up and becoming quite sought after, is now not so popular but may still be worth investigating.
Financial help for LPG conversions was halted in 2005, after the EU decided that the Government PowerShift Grant contravened European rules regarding state aid, and currently there are no grants available.
LPG is cleaner and greener than its more commonly used counterparts, with lower emissions of dangerous particulates than diesel and less carbon dioxide than petrol. Running on LPG is quieter and shouldn’t result in any loss of performance.
Of course the main reason most people convert to LPG is to save money, with LPG supported by major tax incentives it costs approximately half the price of petrol or diesel so it remains a very attractive option – even with the cost of the conversion taken into account. The Government will give three years advance notice of any changes to the tax incentives in every budget, which is reassuring. Conversion costs have fallen drastically since the demise of the Government PowerShift Grant, from around £1500 – £2000 to about £1000. You can gain exemption from the London congestion charge if your vehicle qualifies for registration on the PowerShift Register, so if you go into London every day this alone could save you a small fortune, it is worth noting that the charging zone is extending and other cities are also considering the introduction of similar charging schemes.
So far it all seems to be a very good idea indeed, but there are drawbacks to owning an LPG vehicle. Firstly, even though it is cheaper to buy per litre you will not go quite as far on that litre as a petrol or diesel vehicle. Then there is the problem of filling your tank as there may not be an LPG supplier anywhere near you, and you will also lose space in the boot when the tank is fitted, usually in the spare wheel well. You cannot take an LPG vehicle through the channel tunnel and some insurers will not offer cover. There is always the risk of the tax incentives being reduced or even removed and a conversion may adversely affect the resale value of your vehicle.
Is it worth it? We think so, at least for the time being, providing the tax incentives remain in place of course. If you are considering a conversion it makes sense to check that you have a supplier within a reasonable driving distance and always use an LPGA Approved Installer. Register your conversion on the UKLPG Vehicle Register and inform both the DVLA and your insurance company.
Special thanks to David Villa for providing the image.