Australia's Liquefied Petroleum Gas industry is experiencing an unprecedented boom brought on by rising fuel prices and the government's introduction of LPG subsidies.
All parts of the sector, including tank manufacturers and equipment importers/distributors, have doubled their output to meet increased demand, published reports say.
Under the government's plan, a A$2,000 ($1,580) Autogas conversion subsidy is available to private motorists who convert their pre-owned gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle. A A$1,000 ($790) subsidy is available for a new Autogas-equipped vehicle. The scheme was announced in August and rebates became effective in October.
To date, almost A$18 million ($14.2 million) in grants have been approved.
"Even before the government subsidy was introduced, conversions and new sales were already booming due to high petrol prices, and the subsidy has added impetus to a clearly evident trend," LPG Australia Industry Development Manager Phil Westlake says.
Through October, year-to-date LPG system installations on existing vehicles climbed 100% to 51,020 units, while new LPG vehicle sales increased 70% to 11,426.
Half of the conversions occurred in the three months since the government's announcement.
"The Autogas industry has responded to the additional demand by producing 81% more LPG cylinders to reach 11,981 units since August, when the figure was 6,621," Westlake says.
An LPG Australia survey finds more than 130,000 conversions are expected to be performed each year of the government's 8-year subsidy program.
This would amount to an additional 1 million LPG vehicles on Australian roads, increasing LPG's market share of transport fuel from 6% to 15%.