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Give us grants to convert cars to LPG, suggests Goleen councillor

March 31st, 2022 10:00 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Ross O’Donnell said that bio LPG – which is made from waste residue and renewable vegetable oils – is 30% cheaper than natural gas and can fuel our cars. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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WITH the fuel crisis showing no signs of abating at the moment, a West Cork councillor has called on the local authority to request grants and incentives from the government for LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) conversions of cars, which would also help with reducing Co2 emissions.

Cllr Ross O’Connell (SD) raised the motion at a recent meeting of Cork County Council and also called for incentives to be provided to encourage the roll out of additional Bio-LPG pumps in forecourts across the country.

‘These soaring fuel prices along with the same for electricity and heating are heaping huge financial pressures on families, especially those on lower incomes and we’re likely to see even more increases in the coming year with inflation rising,’ said Cllr O’Connell. ‘For many, electric cars are too expensive and public transport is not an option especially for those in rural parts of the country, like the area where I represent. Also reducing CO2 emissions should not be the reserve of those well off or those living in  and around cities.’

Cllr O’Connell said people deserve an immediate and an affordable solution to the ‘out of control’ conventional  high carbon emanating fuels and he noted that Bio LPG – which is made from waste residue and renewable vegetable oils – is 30% cheaper than natural gas and can reduce our energy dependency on external suppliers such as Russia.

Councillors were told that it is produced in the port of Rotterdam and is already available in Cork but there are very few refuelling stations. Existing vehicles can be converted to  LPG at a cost of approximately €1,000 but Cllr O’Connell called for government subsidies to be introduced to help people convert to this clean burning low carbon fuel.

‘People are being hit in the pocket at the pumps and LPG offers a sound alternative solution to rising costs in diesel and petrol.’

Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) said that LPG is a proven fuel solution for vehicles and is literally half the cost of petrol, while the  overall switch to LPG can significantly reduce running costs. She added that most petrol engines are suitable for a LPG conversion and they can be converted to be duel fuel, switching between both.

‘LPG is cheaper than petrol and diesel but it is also a great deal cleaner, with 30 % less carbon monoxide,’ said Cllr D’Alton, who noted that Bio-LPG is a ‘drop in’ fuel as it can easily slot in.

She pointed out that people are reluctant to convert their cars because of the lack of incentives from government and noted that there are only 46 LPG stations in Ireland, with four of those in Cork. She also suggested asking representatives from Calor Gas to come and speak to councillors in chamber about the practicalities of using LPG.

County mayor Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said that if they are serious about the modal shift away from petrol and diesel then it should be put on the agenda for the Council’s upcoming meeting with the Minister of Transport Eamon Ryan.

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