Imagine The Perfect Fuel For Fleets - Imagine LPG
Company Vehicle feature article
Imagine The Perfect Fuel For Fleets - Imagine LPG
Imagine the perfect fuel for fleet operators, professional drivers and other high mileage users.
A vehicle fuel that can lower your maintenance costs by actually reducing engine wear. A fuel that’s already cheaper than traditional fuels (and which has become even ‘cheaper’ since the Government exempted it from the latest fuel tax increase). A 99 RON octane fuel that’s high in performance, but low in emissions, and that is a perfect match for the wizardry of today’s powerful and sophisticated engine technology.
What would you imagine – the latest biofuel? Hydrogen technology? A prototype fuel the Government wants to support into the market?
Well, how about automotive LPG? It’s been proven to reduce engine wear and lower vehicle running costs, it’s cleaner-burning, there is plenty of it and the latest technology sequential direct injection (SDI) LPG systems are the equal of anything you’ll find under the bonnet of a petrol or diesel vehicle.
Add to that Government’s decision to exempt it from the last TWO tax hikes (one in early 2002) and LPG becomes a very attractive option for professional drivers and fleet operators looking for a high performance, low cost transport fuel that obviously enjoys Government support.
In short the perfect fleet fuel – just ask yourself why so many taxi drivers use it.
Unfortunately, some drivers still labour under various misconceptions about LPG. Two key ones are the level of sophistication and performance LPG offers, and, more recently – because of all the publicity about the Maui gasfield run-down – whether there is enough LPG left.
The issue of LPG supply is simple to deal with – there are simply no supply problems at all, says Rockgas, New Zealand’s leading LPG supplier.
“Maui is only one option for us,” said general manager, Owen Poole.
“We can source LPG from within New Zealand and overseas and, in fact, we have been supplying a mix of domestic and imported product for some time now.
“We’re currently investing heavily in new LPG infrastructure in the South Island and we certainly wouldn’t be doing that if we were concerned about security of supply.
“As far as we are concerned, it’s business as usual and continued fuel availability is assured.”
The other misconception surrounding LPG – that of its performance – is equally simple to dispel. Today’s LPG systems are as sophisticated, as performance-oriented and as reliable as anything that dwells beneath the bonnet of a diesel or petrol vehicle.
“Twenty years ago, when installers were fitting the early LPG systems into 1.3 litre Ford Lasers for example, drivers may have had cause for concern,” Owen says. “But comparing LPG technology then and now is like comparing a Model T with the latest Falcon.
“Get behind the wheel of an LPG SDI vehicle and you would be extremely hard-pressed to tell whether you were driving on petrol or LPG.
“The only noticeable difference would be the fuel savings you would enjoy at the end of the month.”
Sequential direct injection – SDI - systems are the latest technological advance in the automotive LPG world. According to Mike Gibbons of Pacific Alternative Fuels, SDI equipment is hi-tech stuff.
“It has been available for some time overseas for four cylinder 120kW engines, but now they are releasing conversion systems that are designed specifically for the six cylinder 200kW engines that we tend to run on LPG in New Zealand. Most LPG manufacturers are introducing them now.”
Mike says the LPG SDI systems work on the petrol injection fuelling cycle. This means the original petrol engine timing is maintained, emissions are reduced even further and performance is a mirror-image of what the vehicle would achieve on petrol.
The new equipment is for dual fuel conversions but some dedicated systems are being developed.
Owen Poole says these latest systems just go to show the potential of LPG.
“It may be misunderstood in some quarters, but it’s a thoroughly modern fuel – clean and powerful, and backed with advanced technology.
“The fact that Government exempted it from the recent petrol tax hike – and the one in 2002 – also indicates the fuel has some support on high for environmental reasons.”
That New Zealand does have a transport pollution problem is beyond doubt, says Owen. “Emissions are so bad that a Ministry of Transport report shows around 399 people over the age of 30 die prematurely each year from vehicle-related pollution.
“LPG can make a real difference in respect of the occupational safety and health dangers associated with breathing in engine fumes.
“Whereas diesel engines emit cancer-causing particulate matter (PM10s and 2.5s) and petrol contains benzenes and other hazardous additives, LPG is much, much cleaner.
“That means real health benefits for people who spend a lot of their time in and around vehicles.”
So, imagine if you will that perfect fleet fuel. One that cuts your costs, delivers performance, looks after your engine, preserves the environment, protects your health, is readily available, is cheaper and is exempted from tax increases.