Australian motorist expert argues the case for Autogas

Ben Zachariah, an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne and considered an expert in car investment, analysed which are “the greenest cars in the country.” “One of the most common questions motoring journalists are asked is what type of car they choose to drive themselves. And though I’m lucky enough to own a variety of different cars, I tell people my daily driver is the greenest car in Australia – a Ford Territory Turbo Ghia on Autogas,” he noted.

He explained that he chooses this vehicle for a “number of reasons,” including it has “a relatively small carbon footprint out of the box when compared to most brand-new cars, including the electric variety.”

Another reason is that the vehicle is bi-fuel – “fitted with an injected LPG system, significantly reducing running costs, as well as having the benefit of delivering higher-octane fuel while also lowering tailpipe emissions.”

Regarding fuel efficiency, Zachariah commented that his car uses 20% more fuel than unleaded. However, “purely from a cost-saving basis, I can live with that, given the price of LPG is typically AUD 1 per litre less than petrol,” he remarked.

“Then there’s the fact that the majority of LPG is sourced from Australia. Not shipped from the Middle East and refined in Singapore on ships running on ‘heavy fuel oil’ – a horrendously bad product for the environment, chosen for its cheapness – as is the case with petrol and diesel,” he added.

Zachariah also mentioned that studies show LPG produces less than half of the CO2 that coal-fired electricity plants emit for a unit of energy, the same electricity used to power some – not all – of the electric vehicles in Australia, cars that in addition “were imported from far-away places.”

Moreover, the journalist said that not everyone can afford an AUD 70,000 electric car, or even an AUD 35,000 one. “A used Nissan Leaf with 120km of range for AUD 15,000 is not even on the cards for many Australian families. But a Ford Falcon on LPG for AUS 5,000? That’s doable, and in many ways, it’s better for the environment,” he held.

He recalled that many of the taxis on Australian roads are Toyota Camry sedans, utilising reliable and efficient four-cylinder hybrid engines, but converted to run on LPG, and that it is “the type of easy solution we should be looking to introduce across the country.”

Unfortunately, most new service stations are not being built with LPG pumps, Zachariah warned, and “it’s getting harder to find in many parts of the country.” So, he remarked the need of an Autogas lobby group in Canberra, “people actively campaigning politicians, energy companies, and car manufacturers to offer it as a cleaner, cheaper fuel for transporting our nation.”


25 October 2023