Cars are cook­ing with gas

LPG is read­ily avail­able and favours high-mileage driv­ers with lower run­ning costs

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cover Story - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@cars­

IN­JEC­TION has pumped up the cre­den­tials of liq­ue­fied pe­tro­leum gas as a pre­ferred fu­ture fuel for cars. That’s the view of the CSIRO, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment and Aus­tralian car man­u­fac­tur­ers, who re­gard LPG as a short-term so­lu­tion to our re­liance on crude oil.

The CSIRO’s Fu­ture Fu­els re­port in 2008 pro­jected that elec­tric­ity, LPG and nat­u­ral gas (par­tic­u­larly in freight) would lead the way. It pre­dicted LPG would con­tinue to ac­count for about 6 per cent of the trans­port fuel use for the next decade. The re­port also noted greater use of elec­tric­ity and gaseous fu­els, such as hy­dro­gen, LPG and nat­u­ral gas, can be ex­pected to both pro­mote re­duced green­house gas emis­sions and im­prove lo­cal air qual­ity’’.

The Au­to­mo­tive Aus­tralia 2020 Tech­nol­ogy Roadmap, funded by the Aus­tralian and

LPG is read­ily

avail­able and favours high-mileage

driv­ers with lower run­ning costs

Vic­to­rian gov­ern­ments, also iden­ti­fied gaseous fu­els as worth­while short-and midterm in­vest­ments.

LPG is a cheap, read­ily avail­able fuel (more than 3500 of Aus­tralia’s 7500 ser­vice sta­tions have an LPG pump) that favours high

mileage driv­ers

be­cause the lower run­ning costs help off­set the cost of buy­ing or con­vert­ing to LPG.

LPG emits less green­house gas than petrol and Aus­tralia’s known re­serves are pro­jected to last for 20 years.

Nearly 620,000 cars on Aus­tralian roads are pow­ered by LPG, ac­cord­ing to LPG Aus­tralia. Of those, about 200,000 had the LPG sys­tem fac­tory-fit­ted. A gov­ern­ment re­bate for mo­torists who buy a new LPG ve­hi­cle or con­vert an ex­ist­ing one has ac­cel­er­ated the up­take in re­cent years. The re­bate is $2000 for a new car or $1500 for a con­ver­sion, though the lat­ter falls to $1250 from July 1.

Cars­guide’s used-car ex­pert Graham Smith, long an LPG ad­vo­cate, says the ini­tial cost of the sys­tem is some­where be­tween $2000 and $4500 and mod­ern vapour in­jec­tion and liq­uid in­jec­tion sys­tems can be tuned to de­liver power com­pa­ra­ble to an equiv­a­lent petrol en­gine. ‘‘ The more you drive the car, the quicker the re­turn on the con­ver­sion price,’’ Smith says.

He cites a car us­ing 10L/100km (typ­i­cally, a Ford Fal­con or Holden Com­modore) and cov­er­ing 10,000km a year. With petrol at $1.40, the an­nual fuel cost is $1400. To cover the same dis­tance on LPG (at 70c and us­ing 30 per cent more fuel) costs $910. The sav­ing will pay off a $2500 con­ver­sion (a $4500 sys­tem less the $2000 re­bate) in just over five years. Travel 20,000km a year and the re­pay­ment time is halved.


The lat­est LPG in­no­va­tion is phased liq­uid port in­jec­tion. HSV uses a dual-fuel ver­sion and Ford’s new EcoLPi Fal­con will use a ded­i­cated liq­uid in­jec­tion sys­tem. The LPG is in­jected into the in­let man­i­fold as a liq­uid, at which point it vapourises and ex­pands about 240 times. In the­ory, the ex­pan­sion cools the in­com­ing air to cre­ate a denser air­fuel mix as it en­ters the com­bus­tion cham­ber.

Un­like vapour in­jec­tion, it doesn’t need a sep­a­rate en­gine con­trol pro­ces­sor to reg­u­late the fuel sup­ply.

Smith says the prin­ci­ple has yet to prove ef­fec­tive in all ap­pli­ca­tions. Ded­i­cated sys­tems have had prob­lems with vapour lock and boundary fu­elling (where the vapour liq­ue­fies against cylin­der walls and lim­its com­bus­tion).

The Aus­tralian LPG Ware­house dis­putes this. It says a ded­i­cated LPG liq­uid in­jec­tion taxi in Mel­bourne clocked more than 150,000 with no prob­lems.

Smith says to­day’s vapou in­jec­tion sys­tems, such as th ex­pected to be fit­ted to Holden’s new ded­i­cated LP Com­modore, are proven an on a par with the liq­uid

Con­ver­sion: mo­torists pay up to $4500

for a gas sys­tem but for nowre­ceive a re­bate of at least $1500

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.