Da­cia Lo­gan Step­way LPG

Trou­ble at the pump

Auto Car (UK) - - THIS WEEK - MARK TIS­SHAW

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

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