Dacia Logan Stepway LPG
Trouble at the pump
My first credit card bill since I took ownership of the Lpg-powered Sandero Stepway has landed, and it makes for happy reading. Which is good news, given that I signed off my first report on the car last month by noting this was the long-term test of the calculator and credit card as much as the car itself, to assess the viability of LPG as a fuel to help improve the UK’S air quality problem and save motorists a few quid in the process.
We’ve had two brims of the 40-litre tank so far: a 28.17-litre fill that took me 213 miles, and a 30.76-litre replenishment that got me 234 miles. Those fills were both carried out when the red warning light was illuminated on the LPG tank indicator, backing up some internet research that suggested Dacia has quite a creative interpretation of the amount of gas remaining.
Each time, LPG cost 58.9 pence per litre, meaning that the fills came in at £16.59 and £18.12 respectively. That means it costs £34.71 to travel 447 miles at an economy rate of 34.5mpg.
So how does that compare with a petrol-powered equivalent? As luck would have it, our sister magazine What Car? also has a Dacia Sandero (albeit in non-stepway spec) on long-term test. Using the same 89bhp 0.9-litre three-cylinder engine, it is averaging 43mpg.
The economy in an LPG car is always worse, due to the fuel having a lower calorific value, but given that petrol has averaged around £1.15 per litre over the same period, the fuel cost of £54.35 to travel the same distance in a petrol Sandero leaves you an extra £20 out of pocket. However, it’s worth noting that the petrol Sandero would have done close to that distance between fills, rather than the more frequent stops needed in the LPG car.
When those fills have been needed, it has been fairly easy to find LPG fuel pumps so far, one always having a welcome habit of creeping up on a roundabout just in time for the tank to run completely dry (if that’s the right term). I’ve encountered the pumps at only Shell filling stations so far, although it’s worth noting that Shell isn’t the only fuel company with LPG pumps.
While at Shell, though, I have come across two types of LPG pump. One I explained about in the first report (a simple pushon, twist and lock type), but a newer push-on-and-clamp-over device has also now emerged. It is supposed to be easier to use. Well, I faffed around with it long enough for the assistant in the filling station’s shop to have to come out and show me how it is done…
Maybe my struggle was because, being a model intended to be sold to Dutch buyers, our Sandero Stepway’s fuel tank needs an adaptor screwed over the inlet so it can be filled up using Uk-spec LPG pumps. My pump fail was complete when this adaptor subsequently got stuck. A pair of pliers and brute force was needed to remove it back at the office.
Still, I’ll put all these down to lessons learned and teething trouble, because the bottom line so far is this: the Lpg-powered Sandero is proving much cheaper to run than its petrol equivalent and the network of LPG pumps has not yet left us short and caused us to switch to the back-up petrol tank.
LPG pump adaptor got stuck on and needed a helping hand to become free