Thursday, February 19, 2009

LPG (Autogas) fuel conversions

As much as I'd love to drive a hybrid, pure electric or biodiesel powered vehicle, I'm stuck with petrol (gas) vehicles for the time being. It's something that really bugged me; not only the environmental aspects, but the amount of blood that's been spilled over black gold.

Personally, I'm all for going back to the horse and cart, walking or biking. I do little (none) of the latter, purely because as far as I'm concerned, cars and bikes on the same bit of tar do not mix :).

Up until recently, I had glossed over the possibility of converting the car to LPG . LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas - a mixture of butane and propane. LPG is produced during crude oil refinement, or is extracted from oil or natural gas seams. It's often referred to as autogas in other countries

A conversion seemed pretty costly and I've never owned vehicles I've kept for long enough to recoup the cost. I also wasn't aware of any environmental benefits of LPG.

The Australian Government recently announced a subsidy for LPG conversions, so I took another look at the option, and was very pleasantly surprised. Not only is LPG around half the price of petrol currently, but it also generates 15% less carbon dioxide and 20% less other harmful gases when combusted. LPG is particularly efficient in comparison to petrol in relation to cold engines - which is the situation when taking shorter journeys or even when you're embarking on a longer journey.

LPG also evaporates quickly if spilled, so there's no risk of earth/water contamination. LPG engines are also quieter, so less noise pollution.

Yes, it's a fossil fuel and yes it's not a *real* green, earth-friendly solution, but if I can cut back on what my vehicle spews into the atmosphere; I guess it's better than taking no action at all. Let's call it a small step among many.

Source: Green Living Tips

Friday, February 6, 2009

2010 Ford Fusion

The Bottom Line

A redesigned, reworked hybrid that proves Ford can play hardball when they want to.


  • Drivetrain tech improvements make for best-in-class mpg numbers—over 6 mpg better than Camry Hybrid
  • Neat new EcoGauge panel is both powerful and customizable
  • Refreshed styling makes an already good looking car even better looking


  • Engine-on transitions have been improved, but still could be smoother
  • Suspension damping doesn’t handle some road irregularities well
  • Given current events, buying domestic might be a leap of faith for some


  • MSRP: $27,270 (plus $725 destination/delivery charge)
  • Fuel Economy: 39 mpg city, 37 mpg highway
  • Layout: Front-wheel drive
  • Seating: Five passenger
  • Engine: Duratec 2.5 liter 16-valve Atkinson cycle I-4
  • Battery: Nickel-Metal Hydride producing a nominal 275 volts
  • Electric motor: Permanent magnet AC synchronous
    Transmission: Electronically controlled continuously variable
  • Fuel capacity: 17.5 gallons
    Estimated cruising range: 700 miles +
  • Recommended fuel: 87 octane
    Base curb weight: 3,720 lbs
  • Emission rating: Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (AT-PZEV)

Guide Review - 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid test drive

Pop Quiz: Let’s say you’re hot for a new midsize hybrid sedan… who ya gonna call? Conventional wisdom may send you to a Toyota dealership, but Ford’s 2010 Fusion has improved by leaps and bounds in an attempt to re-program the buying instincts of American car consumers.

To battle the mighty Toyota, Fusion Hybrid gets a load of serious improvements, the bulk of which lie within its drivetrain, deep beneath its refreshed skin. For starters, the NiMH battery is smaller and more powerful, the engine on/off switch operates 50% more often, and electric-only propulsion can be sustained up to 47 mph. A 2.5-liter Atkinson four-cylinder produces 155 of the total 191 horsepower, and EPA numbers are an impressive 39 mpg city/37 mpg highway.

But engine tech aside, driving’s the ultimate test, and after a day’s worth of seat time I’m here to tell you the Fusion Hybrid should put Toyota on alert. The new SmartGauge EcoGuide features four degrees of drivetrain info, including accessories load and an indication of how much throttle you can apply before the gas engine kicks in. For the visually inclined, a growing vine and leaf graphic encourages more fuel efficient driving—cool!

There’s still a bit of a vibration when the engine kicks in, but that transition (as well as brake feel) are noticeably improved. The ride is generally smooth, though some larger bumps aren’t absorbed so well by the suspension. But these are minor points compared to the Fusion Hybrid’s larger accomplishments: a comfortable and quiet cabin, an informative display that encourages responsible driving, and refinements that pull some impressive fuel economy numbers from the powertrain. Ford may be in hot water because they’re having trouble selling cars, but if the rest of their lineup gets as good as their Fusion Hybrid, there may be a bold new future for the Blue Oval.