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Dacia returns LPG to UK new car market

Budget brand Dacia has relaunched sales of LPG to the UK market, with the brand’s three-car range of Sandero, Logan MCV and Duster all now available as factory-built Bi-Fuel models with fuel tanks for both petrol and LPG.

The Bi-Fuel models cost £400 more than the regular petrol engine cars, but Dacia puts the break-even point mileage-wise at 12,000 miles, with the cost of LPG currently sitting at around 63p per litre, versus 110p for petrol.

According to the Renault-owned brand, despite being slightly less efficient than petrol, LPG emits Dacia LPG 2020around 11% less CO2 in the Duster, and around 9% in the Sandero. The only difference in terms of practicality is that the second fuel tank sits in the spare wheel well, 42 litres for the Duster and 40 for the other two models, so the LPG-equipped cars don’t get a spare wheel. When both petrol and LPG tanks are full, Dacia said a total range of almost 750 miles is possible. The driver can flick between the two tanks with a flick of a button in the cabin.

Predictions put LPG take-up at around 15% of Dacia volume, an although the company expects to remain retail-dominated, there are “obvious and clear benefits for fleet users”, according to Dacia UK head of Brand Luke Broad.

The company said there are around 1300 LPG filling stations in the UK, and claimed numbers are continuing to grow, and the Bi-Fuel cars receive the same three-year/60,000-mile warranty as the rest of the Dacia range.

“Bi-Fuel is a unique proposition in the UK, we are the only ones offering it,” said Broad. “The Dacia range is all about delivering value for money without compromising on quality and running costs, and the introduction of LPG models in the UK reinforces this ethos.”

LPG gained popularity in the early 2000s, but Government changes to level of taxation almost killed the market overnight.

“Other brands were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Broad in justifying Dacia’s return to a fuel long abandoned by manufacturers. “Dacia’s mission is good value for money and this speaks to customers that want a highly economical car without the high cost of hybrids or electric vehicles.”

There are no plans to deploy LPG in the UK in Dacia parent company Renault’s models at this time, with the French manufacturer focused on introducing electrified models such as the hybrid Clio and plug-in hybrid Captur.

Broad wouldn’t be drawn on any possible attempts to convince Government to incentivise the fuel. “The approach we took on this was that the business model needs to stand on its own feet rather that Government grants or support,” he said. “How can we get the car to pay for itself within a year? Any Government incentives would be a bonus.”

First Drive: Dacia Logan Stepway

Round-Up: Entry-level Duster, Mitsubishi L200 facelift, SWR installs charging points