Liquified petroleum gas (commonly referred to as propane) has never really caught as a motor fuel in the U.S. although it is used by some fleets. However, drivers in Australia may have a new LPG-fueled vehicle to choose from. In fact they may have an LPG mild hybrid available soon at Hyundai dealers. Hyundai Australia is considering local production of the LPG hybrid Elantra that goes on sale in Korea in 2009. Australia has sufficient domestic supplies of LPG that they don't have to import any. With 3,200 LPG filling stations, Australia significantly outnumbers the 2,500 stations in the US.

Even though consumption on LPG is slightly higher than gasoline, the total operating costs of an LPG hybrid Elentra are significantly less than a Prius. In Australia, LPG is $3.26/U.S. gallon less than gasoline. That means an average driver could operate the LPG hybrid Elantra on less than $10 a week. Hyundai has field tested about 100 LPG hybrid Elantras and is reportedly close to finishing validation of the system. The mild hybrid Elantra uses a 15kW motor, LG Chem lithium ion battery and 1.6L engine. The LPG hybrid is thought to get about 47mpg (U.S.) compared to 53mpg for the Prius. Gasoline currently runs $5.80 a gallon in Australia and an LPG mild hybrid could be much less expensive to operate. Hyundai is also developing both plug-in and non-plug variants of a strong hybrids and could begin limited production of a fuel cell vehicle by 2012.


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