The cost of running a car can quickly add up – you’ve got annual insurance, road tax and MOT to think about as well as everyday costs like petrol and repairs. Figures from RAC show that pump prices have increased by 10p in four months, adding an average of £5.64 to the cost of filling up.
One way to reduce the cost of what you spend on petrol is converting your car to LPG. Not sure what this is? Don’t worry – we’re going to explain all about this type of petrol and whether it costs to convert.
What is LPG?
Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is an alternative fuel source to petrol and it’s available at 1,400 stations in the UK. LPG costs around half the price of petrol per litre and should save you around £61 in fuel for every 1,000 miles you drive (assuming your car does 37 miles to the gallon).
On the whole, running an LPG car costs approximately a third less than a petrol only car. However, that doesn’t take into account the cost of converting the car. LPG burns cleaner though so you can pay less car tax.
Around 90 per cent of petrol cars in Britain can be converted to LPG, or you can buy an already converted car second hand. Second hand LPG cars can be cheaper when compared to equivalent petrol models.
How do you convert?
Converting your car to run on LPG requires some major work. In most cases, this will take the best part of three days and could cost you around £1,200.
The work involves having a second fuel tank installed in your car to hold the gas. A new filling up point will need to go in, as well as new lines to take the fuel to the engine. There will need to be some additional work under the bonnet too, to make it all work.
You’ll need to be able to see how much fuel is left in the LPG tank and switch the fuel you’re using. The new fuel tank typically fits in the spare wheel well of the boot, so the overall look of your car shouldn’t change too much.
You can find a list of approved LPG installers here.
Looking for a new car? You could save by buying a second hand car that’s already converted to LPG. Check the paperwork for an official LPG conversion certificate before you buy.
Are there any drawbacks?
There’s the fact that you’ll need to spend in order to get anything back in return – to the tune of around £1,200. You might be able to get it done for less though, so shop around approved installers for the best deals.
On top of this, the system will need a service annually but this tends to cost less than £50. Your fuel economy will drop around 15 per cent also, although you should still be saving a reasonable amount compared with petrol.
You will have a smaller tank too which could drop your driving range to around 150-200 miles. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem as LPG cars can still run on petrol if you can’t find a nearby LPG station.
Adding the tank might mean that you lose out on boot space and it will add weight to your car. You should make sure you have breakdown cover if the tank goes in your spare wheel bay.
Remember, you’ll need to inform your insurer of any modifications made to your car. Bear in mind that modifying your car could mean that your premiums go up – but if you don’t tell them, it could invalidate your insurance altogether.