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LPG around Australia for less than $1000

And they did it with $2.45 to spare.

Their timing couldn't have been better, coming as the Federal Government announced grants of up to $1000 for dedicated liquefied petroleum gas vehicles and $2000 for LPG conversions.

Around Australia project architect Andrew Ellis said it was a stroke of luck.

“We planned this early in the year and not as some people seem to think as an immediate response to the Government grants for LPG,” he said. “We wanted to keep the Falcon product out there and with fuel prices an issue we thought we would display the benefits of LPG.”

And they certainly did, driving more than 13,950km around Australia on $997.55 worth of gas.

The Ford E-Gas range includes the Falcon XT sedan and wagon, Futura sedan and wagon, Fairmont, XR6 ute and the limited-edition pack Falcon SR.

Demand for E-Gas Falcons has risen 300 per cent in the current climate.

LPG was first used in Australia's taxi fleets as long ago as 1970.

Back in the early '90s this writer ran a dual-fuel LPG/petrol XE Ford Falcon and the price of gas was about 25 a litre.

It never missed a beat doing the Brisbane-Sydney run without stopping and using petrol only as a back-up.

These days LPG varies around 60 and is available in most places around the country. Last week LPG cost 56.9, but the price varied as much as 20 on the run from Brisbane-Tamworth.

It is actually safer than petrol with shut-off valves to prevent the gas tank from exploding in an accident. Tanks must be checked and crack tested every 10 years.

The Falcon E-Gas is the only production car in Australia that runs solely on LPG. The petrol tank, fuel lines and pumps of the normal Falcon have been stripped out to fit LPG tanks and the engine cylinder head re-designed solely for gas use.

The engine is essentially the same as the four-litre, straight six-cylinder but running on gas it has about 18 per cent less power (156kW compared with 190kW), but only fractionally less torque (374Nm against 383Nm).

It comes with the standard four-speed sequential shift auto transmission only and cruises at 2000rpm at 110km/h.

An LPG car should use about a third more fuel than an equivalent petrol car. But when LPG costs 50 to 60 a litre in some country areas when petrol is $1.25 to $1.40, it doesn't take long to be in front.

To allow room for the 93-litre gas tank under the boot, the spare wheel has been moved inside the boot. It's neatly carpeted and although it drops boot space by about 20 per cent. small items can be tucked around the spare.