LPG is a little overlooked in Australia as a cheap and relatively clean fuel source for cars. While our governments - bless their hearts - are keen to focus on the massive green marketing tool that is the hybrid, more sensible but less 'sexy' options such as LPG do not always get the attention they deserve.
On that note, it is somewhat pleasing to confirm that the latest cutting-edge LPG Autogas system is now available in Australia and it promises enhanced fuel economy and better-than-petrol power.
Australian LPG Warehouse says its new-generation liquid-injection Autogas system offers significant advances over current industry-standard vapour sequential injection (VSI) Autogas systems.
Autogas-powered vehicles using VSI systems typically use more litres of fuel than petrol-powered equivalents.
"Autogas is a lighter fuel which yields less energy per litre and you therefore have to use more per kilometre than petrol. However, the lower pump price of Autogas - currently about a dollar a litre below standard unleaded petrol - much more than compensates. Its light, low carbon structure gives it the added benefit of lower greeenhouse gas emissions," said Australian LPG Warehouse co-director, Hilbert Klaster.
Mr Klaster said his European-developed liquid-injection system, called JTG (Just Think Green), is rapidly closing the fuel consumption gap.
"It depends on the car, but our trials of the JTG system have consistently achieved Autogas consumption of around 10 per cent less litres per kilometre than vapour injection LPG systems, and thus around only 10 to 15 per cent more litres per kilometre than petrol systems."
Mr Klaster said another key advantage of the JTG system was that it yielded significant engine power benefits.
"Being cooler than petrol, liquid gas provides more volumetric efficiency in the cylinder and a denser charge - and this fuller combustion translates into more power.
"For most vehicles it produces two to three more kilowatts of power, but much more is possible."
Australian LPG Warehouse has conducted some basic testing on a Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo and the result was an 18kW power increase, "straight off the cuff, without much tuning, so the performance potential is huge".
Australian LPG Warehouse already has kits for popular models, including the BA Ford Falcon and VE and VZ Holden Commodore. It is also targeting smaller capacity engine vehicles and has kits approved for the four-cylinder Toyota Camry and Corolla.
LPG Australia's industry development manager Phil Westlake said LPG liquid injection technology increased motorists' fuel savings over petrol - and that having Autogas' litres per 100km figures closer to those of petrol would simplify real-world direct comparisons between the two fuels.
"If a consumer can drive their vehicle with improved performance, similar fuel consumption, no maintenance or longevity penalty and save plenty of money, it's a revolutionary result for them and for the greater LPG industry."