LPG vehicle plans hit roadblock

Just last month, Gas Energy Australia announced its ambitious plans to commence the production of LPG-powered vehicles on Australian shores for the first time.

It appears that not everyone is sharing the same enthusiasm for the project, however, as the Productivity Commission's latest position paper effectively urges the government to limit their support for the local automotive industry.

The Productivity Commission's stance stems from the turmoil Australia's car manufacturing industry went through last year, and calls on the government to take a more "measured approach" in their assistance to the industry and its employees.

"Our draft proposal is that there should be no further industry specific funding beyond 2020," asserted Mike Woods, deputy chairman of the Productivity Commission.

Despite the setback, Gas Energy Australia is unwavering in its belief that LPG gas holds the future for car manufacturing in Australia and can be the stimulus to revive the automotive industry Down Under. Gas Energy CEO Mike Carmody thus encouraged the government to ignore the Productivity Commission's report, which he says overlooks the additional environmental benefits LPG can bring.

"LPG is an indigenous fuel, is less polluting than diesel or petrol, reduces transport costs for Australian motorists and is available everywhere 24/7," he explained in a February 7 statement.

"You only need to look at the experience in Europe, Asia and now emerging in the US to find more progressive governments working with industry and its skilled workforce to manufacture gas powered vehicles that offer significant benefits in the national interest and to the community."

It remains to be seen in which direction the government will be swayed, but this is certainly a debate worth following if you are a fleet manager in Australia.

The final decision made by the government could effectively spell the future of car manufacturing in this country.