Time 3:35 pm, August 15, 2008

31089mgr.jpgLPG is booming – that’s the word coming into the Car Dealer office, from both car dealers and LPG convertors.

One convertor we spoke to has seen a tenfold increase in enquiries, and a quadrupling of sales.

This popularity is being seen on the showroom floor, too: dealers can’t get enough of them. LPG cars are hot property at the moment: ‘It’s the only thing that’s really shifting,’ one dealer told us.

BCA is even seeing this trend on the auction floor. Alternative fuel models such as LPG sold, in June, for 115 per cent of CAP clean – compared to the average 92 per cent for diesels, and 90 per cent for petrol. ‘There is a groundswell of interest in alternative fuelled vehicles, and this is reflected in the strong performance being recorded against guide values – in a market that is otherwise seeing values in decline,’ said BCA’s Tony Gannon.

So what’s causing it? Fuel prices. Motorists converting their cars from petrol to LPG can save up to 60 pence per litre, claim Autogas. LPG currently costs 51 per cent less than petrol – and 56 per cent less than diesel.

It’s quite a turnaround for the LPG car, which spent a few morose years in the doldrums, post-Powershift fiasco. Today, reassuringly, the Government has committed to LPG duty until 2018, so it’s going to retain its relative affordability compared to petrol for a while yet.

It’s certainly an area you should be investigating.

You can either join the rush for the few LPG cars at auctions – or consider converting models yourself, with the help of a specialist. This generally costs £1800 to customers, but we’re sure you can strike a deal with a local convertor (approved, of course; customers are wary of non-approved conversions).

We’d go further, and say now is certainly the time to consider establishing yourself as a specialist used LPG retailer.

Even the infrastructure to power all these potential sales is in place. There are over 1400 refuelling sites across the UK. Compare that to barely 20 for E85 bioethanol. Even better, Autogas, in association with Calor and Shell, have developed software that you can load into a sat nav system, which will find the nearest LPG outlet.

You can do this yourself, and show the availability of LPG, by visiting Demonstrations such as this reassure customers that they’re buying into well-established money-saving technology.

If current trends continue, there will be ever-more of them prepared to do so.

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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