LPG whiz, sav­ing’s a gas

LPG can cut your fuel bill up to 50 per cent, writes, JAMES STAN­FORD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test Fg Falcon E- Gas -

HERE are three let­ters that could cut your fuel bill in half: L, P and G. Un­til now, sales of LPGe­quipped mod­els have been pretty much lim­ited to com­pany cars. With petrol prices surg­ing to­wards $1.70 a litre and diesel hit­ting $1.90, more peo­ple are look­ing at LPG, which costs about $0.65. Ford and Holden of­fer LPGe­quipped new cars. Holden sells a Com­modore with a dual-fuel LPG sys­tem fit­ted by HSV that costs $3900, or $1900 if you qual­ify for the LPG gov­ern­ment grant. It is look­ing at cut­ting that price to in­crease in­ter­est and is also work­ing on a ded­i­cated LPG Com­modore that will be bet­ter and cheaper. Ford Aus­tralia has long pushed LPG and in­tro­duced its ded­i­cated LPG sys­tem for the Fal­con in 1999, call­ing it E-Gas. Now it has in­tro­duced the E-Gas vari­ant for the FG Fal­con range. The E-Gas op­tion is avail­able on three FG mod­els, the base XT, G6 and G6E. You can also get E-Gas for three ute mod­els and the BF III wagon. Choos­ing an E-Gas en­gine costs $1400, dip­ping to $400 with the gov­ern­ment grant. Though the new mod­els come with all the other im­prove­ments of the FG up­grade, the E-Gas en­gine has not changed. The 4.0-litre in-line six-cylin­der was up­graded in 2005 and has dual over­head camshafts, that are in­de­pen­dently vari­able. It runs only on LPG and, un­like many af­ter-mar­ket dual-fuel con­ver­sions, has stronger con­rods and harder valve seats spe­cially de­signed to make sure the en­gine runs prop­erly for the long run. The Ford sys­tem uses a con­verter that mixes the LPG with air be­fore it goes into the man­i­fold at a sin­gle point. This is not as ad­vanced as the sys­tem used by Holden and most af­ter mar­ket kits, which in­ject LPG vapour into each cylin­der like a petrol en­gine. The E-Gas en­gine uses more fuel than the petrol ver­sion. The of­fi­cial fig­ure is 14.9 litres a 100km, com­pared with 10.5 litres/100km for petrol but the LPG is far cheaper. The Fal­con E-Gas en­gine pro­duces 156kW of power and 371Nm of torque, com­pared with 195kW and 391Nm of the petrol ver­sion. Though the new base FG Fal­con sedan and utes are now fit­ted with a five-speed au­to­matic, the E-Gas sol­diers on with the four-speed au­to­matic made by Drive Sys­tems In­ter­na­tional in Al­bury. E-Gas mod­els have linked LPG tanks that mea­sure a to­tal of 93 litres, pro­vid­ing a rea­son­able range. To ac­com­mo­date the larger tank vol­ume, Ford has moved the spare wheel into the boot of the sedan and wagon. The ute is not af­fected. Un­for­tu­nately, Ford has not en­gi­neered elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol for E-Gas Fal­cons.

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