So we’ve done other comparisons, we’ve looked into the differences between petrol types and we've reviewed many models. However, not yet have we compared Petrol with its much discussed competitor; LPG. LPG or liquefied petroleum gas has been an alternative to for a long time however it has never truly dented petrol’s dominance of the fuel marketplace. Currently there are only two major manufacturers, Ford and Holden, making the vehicles (not including conversions) for the Australian market. This may sound like the two have a stranglehold on the market however the reality is very different. Sales of LPG vehicles have been struggling and frankly its well behind diesel as a real alternative to petrol.
Availability – This is very simple; there are many, many petrol bowsers across Australia. These bowsers outnumber LPG or diesel pumps in the extreme. This fact is a very important, especially when you think back to all the times you’ve panicked about your fuel level with very few service stations in sight.
Variety of vehicles – Like the benefits on availability of the fuel, there is a huge argument for petrol based on the sheer level of vehicles available.
Admittedly both of these arguments for Petrol are rooted in the fuel’s existing dominance of the market. As regressive as the arguments may sound they do have huge implications for drivers.
Lower CO2 emissions – Even accounting for the fact that LPG is less efficient litre per litre LPG does still emit less CO2 per kilometre.
Lower Cost- This is without doubt the most important element behind LPG. It is the only real reason that the fuel still sells in anyway shape or form on the landmass of Australia. According to some sources the savings can be up to 60%. LPG is less efficient litre per litre however at today’s price of around 63 cent per litre (price varies by service station 13/07/2012) it works out at less than half the price of even the lowest value petrol.
There are other benefits however these are the two most critical and they are unlikely to change for the moment at least.
Poor safety standards– After years of claim and counter claim it would seem that this myth is finally dead. Excluding a few poor home-made conversions the number of LPG related accidents does not highlight any real problem.
Higher insurance premiums – After looking online and actually looking for quotes we have seen no evidence to back this claim. As far as we can see there is no additional insurance premium on LPG vehicles.
Ok, so we left out some of the big points in the debate. Smaller boot space, higher purchase price and slightly less power also have obvious impacts on buyers however they could be corrected relatively quickly by a savvy manufacturer. The same cannot be said for range and availability. While the purpose of these comparison articles is not to pick one fuel over the other it has to be pointed out that LPG currently has a very narrow focus. Yes, it saves you money but the restrictions on choice are very serious and will continue to handicap the fuel type. All in all LPG is a great fuel type however due to the low level of industry interest it is losing the battle with petrol and diesel.