This means motorists may have long delays to convert their car to running on LPG which costs less than 70 a litre. LPG Australia industry development manager Phil Westlake said the waiting lists for conversions had blown out from two months to about four.
“High fuel prices and speculation that the Government would axe the grants scheme drove demand up through April and May,” he said.
The LPG scheme provides a $2000 rebate for private motorists who convert a petrol-powered vehicle to run on LPG Autogas and $1000 for a new LPG vehicle.
“One of the complicating factors is a slight shortage of cylinders brought on by speculation about the grant,” Westlake said.
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“The cylinder manufacturer decided not to increase production while they waited to see what the Government would do.”
The Government reaffirmed its support for the grants scheme, allocating a further $19.1 million in funding in the federal Budget.
“The Victorian tank manufacturers have now stepped up production,” Westlake said.
Since the LPG scheme was introduced in August 2006, more than 125,000 private motorists have converted their vehicles or bought new LPG-powered vehicles.
Westlake said Autogas cost about 90 a litre less than unleaded fuel, representing a 50 per cent weekly saving on the fuel bill.
“While LPG is not immune from price fluctuations caused by world oil markets, Autogas typically sells for less than half the price per litre of ULP petrol,” he said.
LPG conversions cost between $3000 and $4000, but Westlake said that with the $2000 federal grant, motorists would recover a $3000 conversion cost in about seven months, if they travelled 25,000km a year.
Fuel economy for an LPG car is not as high as unleaded fuel, but it produces up to 10 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions, as well as lower emissions of other poisonous gases such as hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen.
Westlake said Autogas was sold at more than 3200 national outlets and there were 2500 businesses across the country registered to perform LPG conversions.
“So there are no issues of availability and there are plenty of qualified people to fit conversion kits,” he said.
“Fuel volumes of LPG have picked up as well.”
Chrysler Australia has announced LPG engine conversions were now available on its six and eight-cylinder 300C and Jeep Grand Cherokee models through all Chrysler dealers.