Cleaner fuel not a viable option
THE rising price of Liquid Petroleum Gas has deterred motorists from switching to gas from petrol.
Local mechanic Matthew Dore's business Dore Bros Garage specialises in installing LPG systems into vehicles and servicing them.
Since the price increase late last year, the number of conversions dropped from an average of one per week to one every two to three weeks.
This year they have not done one.
"We haven't had a call about it this year," Mr Dore said.
"It's a major part of what we do. It's half of our business and the price of LPG has killed it."
Mr Dore said the price had risen to nearly 86cpl, mostly because the price benchmark is set from overseas prices.
He said the price of LPG always increased around this time of year because it was winter overseas and consumption was high.
"This time of year there is always an increase in price, but we've also been hit by excise costs and the strength of the Australian dollar," he said.
The minimum cost of converting a vehicle from petrol to gas is about $3000.
When those considering it do the maths, the cost outweighs the benefits.
One motorist said a car would need to do "a million miles" before the owner gets any return from converting.
"The price of LPG needs to be at least half what it is to make it viable for people to convert," Mr Dore added.
"The idea of it is alternative fuel which is cleaner for the environment."
The state's peak independent motoring body, RACQ, warned drivers of cars that run on LPG to fill up before prices soared.
LPG prices rose to a new record in Gympie this week reaching nearly 86 cents per litre.
RACQ's executive manager for public policy Michael Roth said LPG prices had risen substantially.
"Cheaper LPG is available; motorists just need to find it," Mr Roth said.
"They can use the RACQ Cheap Petrol search facility at racq.com to find the outlets with the best prices."
Historically, the LPG retail price in Brisbane has been about 20c/l greater than the benchmark price, which accounts for wholesalers' and retailers' costs and margins.
"The reason for the increase is linked to a shortage of LPG due to demand for heating fuel in the extreme cold weather being experienced across Europe and Russia," he said.
"By May we expect to see a 10c/l drop in the price of LPG because, as the northern hemisphere moves in to spring, demand for heating drops."
Prices are influenced by international prices.
The recent rise can be blamed on fuel excise increasing 2.5 cents per litre and winter in the northern hemisphere.
The international benchmark for the cost of Australian LPG is the Saudi Aramco Contract Price, also commonly called the Saudi CP.
The Saudi CP is expressed in US dollars per tonne. As the international price is in US dollars, the Australian dollar exchange rate also affects the Australian price of LPG.
The increase is linked to a shortage of LPG due to demand for heating fuel in the extreme cold weather being experienced across Europe