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Everest gets high on gas deal

Home improvements company Everest is set to become Britain's largest gas-powered fleet following its decision to replace its 600 vehicles with liquefied petroleum gas models. The Hertfordshire-based firm has already taken delivery of 125 gas-powered Ford Transits in a multi-million pound deal, part-funded by the Government-backed Energy Saving Trust's Powershift programme.

It plans to convert the remainder of its Ford LCVs and Mondeos to run on liquefied petroleum gas over the next 18 months.

Everest's parent company the Latium Group, is understood to be considering extending the commitment to LPG to all companies within the group, which would create a gas fleet of up to 2,000 vehicles.

Everest fleet co-ordinator Matt Hughes said the move was driven equally by cost and environmental factors and followed a year of research into the alternative fuels market: 'We expect to make significant savings on our fuel bills,' he said. 'It seems a natural progression that we should pursue a cleaner fuel policy.'

The first batch of Transits are being supplied by Ford dealer Gordons (Bolton), and Calor Gas has won the contract to install Autogas bunkering facilities at Everest sites in Hertford, Warrington, Milton Keynes and Perth.

Britain has 470 retail LPG sites and Calor says the number is growing at the rate of one a day which will lead to a network of 1,000 stations by the end of the year and at least 1,300 by 2002.

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