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Phil’s high mileage LPG saving is Astra-nomical

When Phil Vintin was choosing his new car a few years ago, going green was his priority. This eco-friendly quest led Phil to a 2003 Vauxhall Astra Dualfuel, one of the LPG-fuelled models that Vauxhall offered in its showrooms.

The car already had a respectable 73,000 on the clock when Phil took it over – and he’s kept racking up the miles ever since. Thanks to his job as a mobile IT engineer working in schools all over England and Wales, Phil can find himself on the road heading to just about any location from his Sheffield base, as far afield as Cornwall. As a result the trusty Astra has now covered 215,000 miles… and counting.

Even though the car was chosen for its low environmental impact, it didn’t take long for Phil to begin benefiting from autogas LPG’s lower running costs. So far he’s saved around £5,000 compared to filling with unleaded. “I hadn’t started this job and was trying to be green at the time,” says Phil. “Once I started driving for work I saved a lot – the car costs me about 12 pence a mile to run and I’m paid 35 pence a mile. Because LPG is almost half the price of petrol or diesel it costs me less to run the car than my colleagues with diesels.”

Phil adds: “The low price of autogas LPG is a big benefit, and it’s also better for the environment so I feel like I’m doing my bit.” Indeed, as a cleaner-burning fuel, autogas LPG produces more than 20 times fewer oxides of nitrogen than diesel and 50 per cent fewer than petrol, meaning LPG can contribute to an improvement in local air quality. LPG also produces up to 120 times fewer of the small particulates found in the tailpipe emissions of some diesel vehicles, which are associated with health problems including respiratory complications.

Despite its high mileage, Phil’s Astra has never required any attention other than routine servicing and replacement of wear and tear consumables such as ball joints and bushes. “I’ve only just had it serviced,” remarks Phil, “and my mechanic was really impressed with the condition it’s in and the fact that it’s not needed any repairs. I know an LPG engineer in Sheffield who looked at the autogas system and told me it was working well. Overall the cost of maintaining the car is no higher because of the fact it runs on LPG and I’ve never spent more than £200 on it.”

One thing Phil does spend a lot of is time on the road, so how does he find availability of LPG filling stations? He says: “There are seven in Sheffield, and I pretty much know where all the LPG sites are on my usual routes as I had them on my sat nav. However there’s always the comfort of knowing that, if I can’t find somewhere to fill with LPG, I can fall back on unleaded so I make sure there’s half a tank in there.”

Paul Oxford, business development manager at Autogas Limited, says: “Phil is a great example of a motorist who is making the most of the advantages of driving a car fuelled with autogas LPG. After buying his car based on its environmental credentials he’s also discovered that switching to autogas LPG can save drivers used to high petrol or diesel prices a significant amount of money at the pump. And with 215,000 miles driven so far, Phil’s Astra is a great advert for the reliability of LPG systems.”

Now Phil’s spreading the message about his cheaper motoring on a website he’s helped to set up and run, – a social networking site that lets drivers share deals and advice about how to cut their car running costs.

The big question is will Phil go for another LPG-powered car next time? The confident reply comes: “Yes, I’ll definitely be looking for one.”

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