Highland-based Gleaner Oil and Gas – in partnership with Shell – is expanding its LPG refuelling facilities over the next two years – with 50 per cent of the Gleaner/Shell branded sites installed by the end of 2005.

The programme will provide a major impetus to promotion of this economical and environmentally friendly alternative fuel, where the current duty is 4.5ppl compared to 47.1ppl for petrol and diesel.

Billy Laing, managing director of Gleaner Oil and Gas, said: “Autogas can almost halve running costs, and is environmentally cleaner. Gleaner is committed to sustaining rural life, and making the natural assets of Scotland even more attractive to live in and visit.”

In a plea to the Treasury, Laing also encouraged the chancellor Gordon Brown to maintain the favourable duty rate on the fuel.

Ian Murdoch, manager of Scottish Transport Energy at the Energy Savings Trust, applauded the company’s initiative and said LPG made sense for Scottish motorists, especially in the rural areas.

“With more filling points coming online every day, Scotland can lead the UK as we chase a target of 250,000 Autogas vehicles on the road by 2005.

Gleaner’s commitment to LPG has been vindicated by a 70 per cent increase, year on year, of Autogas sales.