Automotive parts supplier Repco has renewed its commitment to running the majority of its vehicle fleet on LPG Autogas after rejecting diesel as a financially viable alternative.
Repco has begun rolling out a fleet of 70 Mitsubishi Triton, single and dual cab utilities, all fitted with a state-of-the-art Impco BRC vapour injection system.
A further 90 Tritons will join the Repco fleet in the second half of the year, adding to more than 600 Autogas-powered utilities and 120 large LPG sedans already in operation.
The balance of the 1100-vehicle fleet is made up of smaller 4-cylinder sedans and hatches.
"When it came time to replace some of our utes we looked closely at various diesel-powered models but the economics were quite shattering," says Mike Moffat, Repco's national fleet manager.
Moffat bases his cost analysis on an average 80-cents-per-litre differential between the price of Autogas and that of diesel. The current price differential is well over one dollar per litre. "Even allowing for the cost of LPG conversion, over an average 45,000 kilometres per year a diesel-powered equivalent vehicle would cost an extra $2600," he explains. "I think a lot of fleet managers are starting to realise that up against LPG, diesel is not even in the race."
The Impco LPG conversion kit for the 3.5-litre V6-engined Tritons is the same factory-endorsed system applied to the Mitsubishi 380 and does not void the factory warranty.
Impco's general manager John Coggins says the kit uses the latest vapour injection technology from the company's BRC factory in Italy, providing optimum engine performance and driveability. "With the Sequent 56 system, running the Tritons on Autogas is virtually indistinguishable from running them on petrol."
Moffat is enthusiastic about the latest generation of LPG vapour injection technology. "I wasn't a fan of the old-style fumigation-style gas systems, but this system is a different world," he says. Repco uses its Autogas-powered utilities for the delivery of major engine components and other drivetrain parts throughout Australia. "We simply couldn't afford to run our delivery vehicles if we weren't using LPG—it would change the dynamics of our whole business," he adds.
Phil Westlake, LPG Australia industry development manager, explains that as diesel prices hit $1.70 a litre and above, Autogas is retailing for at least a dollar a litre less. "While LPG is not immune from price fluctuations caused by world oil markets, Autogas typically sells for less than half the price per litre of standard unleaded petrol and even less compared to diesel,” Westlake says. "Over the course of a calendar year it clearly offers an immense savings advantage,” he adds. "If you are spending $80 per week on petrol now, you'll be spending $40 or less on Autogas. That's $40 per week that stays in your back pocket."