LGPMap Uses MapPoint and AutoRoute
MP2K talks with Nik Aves, developer of the LGPMap.co.uk web site, which adopted Microsoft's Geography product formats for download on their web site.
1.) What is LPG and what significance has it played in the automobile energy
market in the UK?
LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas. It is a by-product of oil production and would otherwise
be burned off in the refining process and be wasted as an energy resource.
LPG is comparatively clean from both a carbon emissions and low hydrocarbon (70% of those of petrol)
point of view. It also contains no PM10 toxic pollution (the black stuff you see coming from a diesel
LPG is slightly less efficient then petrol but due to the massive price difference at the pump
you can still expect a 40% saving on your fuel bill. Usually there is no drop in performance,
but sometimes you can notice a very slight drop at top end.
LPG is relatively new to the UK market, the last 3 years has seen a great rise in awareness in
the market. Filling stations are beginning to appear, and the amount of installers are growing.
Unfortunately with anything new like this, amongst the reputable installers there are
a few who are in it for a fast buck and do not fully understand the technicalities of LPG, therefore
when something doesn't go by the book you can be left with an installation that is at best
unreliable, and at worst can cause your car damage. Fortunately there is a large LPG
presence on the internet and many sites offer advice for anyone looking to getting their car
converted. Usually these sites are run by people who have already had a conversion done and
are willing to pass on their mistakes/experiences to the LPG virgin (like www.lpgmap.co.uk)
As long as you do your homework before getting a conversion done, you will end up
spending 40% less on fuel, helping the environment and increasing the lifetime of your vehicle.
2.) How many LPG vehicles and LPG filling stations are there now and what
would you estimate for the coming years?
There are less than 100,000 vehicles converted in the UK, but this figure is now increasing
dramatically mainly due to extortionate price of petrol, but also because of the environmental
Currently there are around 1100 filling station in the UK. These are made up of forecourt sites
like BP, Shell etc and non-forecourt sites such as your local mechanic. The split is about 50/50
and usually the non-forecourt sites are a penny or two cheaper as they do not have to keep
up a nice forecourt/open 24hrs etc. There are around 20-30 sites opening every month nationwide
and this seems to be growing as more people get converted.
3.) What legislation or legislation-in-process has given a boost to LPG, do you
see LPG as economically viable without government intervention?
Since the UK government are keen to promote 'greener' fuels, the tax on LPG has remained at around
6 pence/litre, This is around 20% tax. If you compare that to Petrol which is taxed at about 80%
(around 60 pence/litre) you can see where the price differences come from at the pump, 35p/l
(0.55 US$/litre)LPG and 74p/l (1.15 US$/litre) for Unleaded Petrol.
If LPG ever becomes a main stream fuel it will be interesting to see if the government keep
the tax so low (somehow, I doubt it!!!)
4.) Please describe for us the environmental benefits that can be acheived by
LPG produces less the following compared to petrol
Nitrogen Oxide 40% less
Carbon Monoxide 75% less
Hydrocarbons 85% less
Ozone 87% less
The reason for this is that LPG has a less complex chemical structure than Petrol
or Diesel, so burns more cleanly. (Source http://www.4car.co.uk)
Also, when starting a car from cold on LPG it needs very little or no choke. This is
because LPG is a gas at normal atmospheric pressure and does not condense onto the side
walls of the piston chamber (due to them being cold). This in turn means that the oil on
the walls of the chamber is not dissolved and therefore cold starting on LPG produces
less wear on the engine. No choke is needed because the LPG has remained in a gaseous form
and therefore burns completely unlike cold starting on petrol.
5.) When did you discover MapPoint and how long have you been using it to
offer downloads in .ptm format?
When I first converted to LPG (June 2001) I found an LPG filling station list available from the
LPG Authority (www.lpga.co.uk). This list contained the name,address and postcode (zipcode)
of all stations in the UK. Because of the sparseness of stations, and the amount of travelling
I do, I thought I would import the list into AutoRoute, using the postcode matching
facility. Unfortunately the LPGA list was full of errors, such as postcode containing O's
instead of 0's and completely wrong postcodes. I set to work correcting as many as I could
and created an overlay for my own personal use. I found it so useful, so I made it available
for download on my website (www.lpgmap.co.uk) and now I have a mailing list of over 300 people.
As postcode matching is not particularly accurate (finds road, but not always correct location)
I asked my mailing list to find their local stations and feedback to me Lat/Long co-ordinates,
this way the map would become extremely accurate. Currently, the response to the overlay
has been amazing, I didn't realise how much time it would save people. Now, people send
me information on new sites opening locally to them, I even have a company who send me information
on new LPG sites they are commisioning. At this point the Overlay is without doubt, the most
accurate within the UK.
I had some calls to support MapPoint as well as AutoRoute (about 4 months ago), so both formats are
A few months ago LPGMAP got involved with Holux-UK (www.holux-uk.com) to produce an overlay for
their handheld GPS units. Now, the e-fox (GM-100) unit contains a map with LPG filling station
information built in.
I'm aware that I'm not using MapPoint to it's full capabilities so would appreciate any
suggestions anyone has of how to improve the overlay.
Yahoo Discussion Group
newsgroup - uk.rec.cars.fuel.lpg
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.