If you said to any business owner that they could save tens of thousands of pounds every year by changing one simple thing, then most would leap at the chance. And that’s exactly what the owners of Phoenix Taxis in Northumberland, one of the largest taxi operators in the North East, did when they began converting many of their vehicles to run on LPG.
Alexander Hurst, owner and managing director of Phoenix Taxis, estimates that running the cars on LPG saves his drivers nearly £1,000 each per year in their fuel bills, a combined total of more than £76,000 across the business each year.
“We began in 1997 with just one or two LPG cars. We knew LPG could potentially save our drivers a lot of money, which is what attracted us to it in the first place, but we didn’t realise just how much it would amount to. We noticed the fuel cost savings immediately and we now run a fleet of 80 LPG cars and have run around 250 in total over 17 years,” said Alexander.
Switching to LPG has proved very economically viable for Alexander. On average it has taken just six months to pay off the cost of the simple conversion which typically cost around £1,500 for an average four-cylinder engine car.
Alexander continued, “The LPG cars have proved so popular of our drivers that many of the, have even converted their own personal or other family cars onto LPG.”
But it’s not just the cost savings that have become important to Alexander and the team. “Apart from the cost savings LPG is far cleaner and greener. It’s always been our aim to be as environmentally sustainable as possible and running many of our cars on LPG enables us to do that,” he added.
In recent years air pollution has become an issue in many of Britain’s major cities. Aside from producing less carbon dioxide than petrol and diesel, LPG produces 20 times less oxides of nitrogen than diesel, helping to reduce the problem of air pollution in cities up and down the country.
“One of the added benefits of LPG is that it is so unremarkable! Both drivers and customers alike can’t notice any difference in the performance against a petrol or diesel model. And they are also probably unaware that by using our taxis they’re doing their bit to help the environment.”
Phoenix Taxis has even had its own refuelling facilities installed, but for other autogas LPG users, there is an established and extensive refuelling network across the UK, currently standing at about 1,400 outlets.
Alexander is adamant they will continue to use LPG to run a significant part of their fleet. “LPG has proved of great benefit to our business. We’ve even started to convert some of our hybrid vehicles to run on the fuel, meaning we enjoy even more savings.”
Autogas Limited is a joint venture between Shell and Calor. Established in 2000 with the sole aim of making automotive LPG more readily available to fleet and private motorists, the company now has LPG refuelling installations on more than 227 petrol forecourts throughout the UK.
Autogas Limited is an active member of UKLPG, the trade association of the LPG industry, trying to bring the message of cleaner and cheaper motoring to as many people and businesses as possible.