CONVERT AND SAVE
By UTE SCHULENBERG
BEN Gately had received more than 20 calls before 10am yesterday following the news of a $2000 Federal Government subsidy for motorists converting their existing cars to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
The subsidy is part of a $1.5 million fuel package announced by the Government yesterday in an attempt to ease voter dissatisfaction with rising petrol prices.
Mr Gately, of Gately Mechanical Repairs, said the average conversion cost for a family sedan was $2900.
"Station wagons are a bit more and Landcruisers are around $3300," he said.
"Every time fuel goes up, there are more inquiries. With this offer I think we are going to be busy."
However without any details about how the subsidy would work, he was also cautious.
"We will just have to wait and see."
At 66 cents/litre, LPG is a lot cheaper than petrol, although marginally more is used.
"But performance-wise, if the engine is properly tuned, there is no difference," Mr Gately said.
For those who have already converted to LPG, this latest news is not so good.
Jocelyn Marmont said she and her partner, Nicholas Stubbs, 'were spewing' when they heard about the subsidy.
"We only had our Landcruiser converted in March," she said.
"We've already done about 30,000 kilometres, so we have definitely made the money back." LPG subsidies were originally due to be introduced in 2011. A spokesman for Mitsubishi, Kevin Taylor, welcomed the planned acceleration.
"It's good to have fuels other than petrol," Mr Taylor said.
"The problem is, if LPG becomes a very popular fuel, will resellers start charging more? The good thing is most resellers are not the same people who are controlling the petrol networks."