Highs and lows of petrol no deterant for local car owners

THE ups and occasional downs of petrol prices might be taxing but they're not enough to deter Gympie vehicle owners.

Nearly half of the region's cars, trucks, buses and motorbikes are powered by petrol.

Queensland Main Roads Department data shows 35,637 of the area's 71,300 vehicles are running on petrol.

There are 13,915 diesel-fuelled vehicles in the district and 726 combined petrol-LPG engines.

Electric cars are few and far between with just 521 on our streets.

There are 67 LPG engines, 43 petrol-electric-powered vehicles and 32 diesel-LPG vehicles.

RACQ technical and safety policy executive manager Steve Spalding said although costly at the bowser, petrol engines had two key factors going for them.

"They tend to be cheaper to service over longer-term ownership and they are generally a quieter engine although modern diesels have certainly become quieter," Mr Spalding said.

He said modern LPG-fuelled cars like Ford's Falcon LPI were changing car aficionado attitudes but Australia's marketplace was stuck in the doldrums.

"The Ford Falcon LPI doesn't behave how people remember those older LPG cars did," Mr Spalding said. "It is quiet and smooth; it starts quickly and performs strongly.

"The technology has really moved on.

"It's probably the marketplace that hasn't changed its thinking."


Forget fuel, it's all about battery powered rides

ARE petrol prices driving you around the bend?

Electricity could put the power back into your wallet.

About 520 Gympie residents are feeling the zing of ka-ching as they charge up their daily drive with battery power.

The Holden Volt, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Mitsubishi i-MiEV are some of the electric vehicles available across the country.

Australian Electric Vehicle Association's Daryl Budgeon said the owners of the region's 521 electricity-fuelled drives were bright sparks.

Mr Budgeon said low running costs, cheap or even free fuel and comparable performance were among their power-packed benefits.

Given the upsides, he said it was surprising more people did not embrace his choice of wheels.

"With a petrol car you're paying 10 or 11 cents/km but an electric vehicle will be about three cents/km," the association's national secretary said.

"The big benefit to the electric drive is it's more efficient. It is about 90% efficient compared to a petrol-driven car which is about 25% efficient and a diesel motor about 35% efficient."

Mr Budgeon said some models could travel for 180km before needing a recharge.

They could be plugged into any power outlet and typically charging took six to eight hours and cost about $1 - or nothing when charged through solar-power feeds.

And the environment was also a winner, he said.



Vehicle total: 71,300

Petrol: 35,637

Diesel: 13,915

Petrol-LPG: 726

Electric: 521

LPG: 67

Petrol-electric: 43

Diesel-LPG: 32

The rest include trailers and electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

* These figures are the number of vehicles by fuel-type listed on the Qld registration

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