GM Holden Australia has added a factory-backed dual-fuel option (petrol + liquid petroleum gas) to the latest models of its leading large car, the Commodore. It's not a cheap option though, adding almost AUD$2000 (US$1546) to the standard price even after a federal government rebate is taken into account. While liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is significantly cheaper than regular unleaded petrol, only people like taxi drivers who put in huge kilometres behind the wheel are likely to gain the full financial benefit from adding LPG.

The new VE Commodore range including Omega, V-Series, Berlina models has been updated for the new dual-fuel option which is also available on the current wagon and ute models. The sticker price for adding the LPG option is a very serious AUD$3900 (US$3015), which after taking into account the Australian Federal Government's LPG grant of AUD$2000 (US$1546), reduces the final surcharge to AUD$1900 (US$1469).

Ford has been the leading proponent of LPG fuel options in Australia, including an LPG-only car, the only one of its kind. The direct injection LPG technology used in the Commodore is newer than the pre-mix method used by Ford, but CARSguide at least gave its thumbs up to the Ford for quieter and smoother option at a lower price.

Analysis: The Australian government has come under fire from environmental groups for offering such a hefty discount to promote the use of LPG, which is not a renewable fuel. The major oil companies end up winning either way so they're happy. And voters do get a cheaper fuel option, but I'd prefer to see this kind of federal initiative promoting ethanol flex-fuel and biodiesel.


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