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by Tim Beissmann

The Federal Government has given the new Ford Falcon EcoLPi a big thumbs up after official data shows its running costs are similar to those of a small car.

The government’s data rates the average cost of running the new LPG-powered Falcon EcoLPi at $8.60 per 100km, making it more inexpensive to run than a Volkswagen Golf 118TSI Comfortline ($9.22 per 100km), and only slightly more than a Golf 103TDI Comfortline ($8.23 per 100km).

The Falcon EcoLPi is also considerably more cost efficient to fuel than the standard petrol-powered Falcon XT ($14.04 per 100km) and the Holden Commodore Omega 3.0 SIDI ($12.91 per 100km).

(The prices were calculated using the official combined cycle fuel consumption figures of the vehicles and assuming the following fuel costs: ULP – 141.9 cents/litre, LPG – 68.5 cents/litre, Diesel – 146.9 cents/litre.)

LPG is the most readily available alternative energy fuel in Australia, and it is also cleaner than unleaded or diesel, emitting up to 14 per cent less CO2 per litre of fuel, depending on the vehicle.

The liquid phase injection LPG system used in the Falcon EcoLPi was developed by the specialist LPG division of Perth-based Orbital Corporation, Orbital Autogas Systems.

Orbital Corporation CEO, Terry Stinson, said the return of the LPG-powered Falcon would be welcome news for traditional Australian families.

“Australians have always loved their full-size six-cylinder and V8-powered cars and utes for their space, versatility and driveability,” Mr Stinson said.

“The continued high cost of petrol has seen many Australians make the switch to smaller cars believing they will be cheaper to run long term.

“Combined with more efficient LPG injection technology and a new range of spare tyre options that no longer reduce boot space, drivers can continue to enjoy the virtues of a large car along with the fuel costs of a much smaller one.

“LPG-powered cars represent much better value for money when you factor in their interior space and ability to tow a trailer – which is important to many Australian families and fleet operators.”

Ford Australia is offering the Falcon EcoLPi with three boot/spare tyre options. The first is a Temporary Mobility Kit, which allows you to patch up punctures with a tube of goo. The second is the no-cost option of a space-saver spare tyre and the third is a full-sized spare tyre for an extra $250.

Before June 30, 2014, buyers of new vehicles with LPG-powered engines may be eligible for a $2000 rebate from the Federal Government’s LPG Vehicle Scheme (capped at 25,000 eligible claims per financial year).

Read CarAdvice’s review of the 2011 Ford Falcon EcoLPi.