MOTORISTS across Hampshire have a sure-fire way of avoiding the next petrol crisis - converting to gas.

Southampton garage Drive-By-Gas, which offers the conversion, has been swamped with inquiries since the fuel blockades last month.

Company director Geoff Dear said: "Basically, what we do we do is convert any petrol-engine vehicle to run on liquid petroleum gas (LPG), or auto gas, as it's more commonly known.

"We have been doing it for around 12 months now, and it had been nice and steady until the fuel crisis.

"Since then, though, our customers have more than doubled, and we have inquiries every day about it."

LPG has been popular throughout Europe for many years, and only now is starting to catch on in the UK.

Mr Dear said: "It is more environmentally friendly and cleaner, certainly more than diesel, and at the moment costs around 39.9 pence a litre - petrol in most places is double that."

Vehicles that have been converted have a switch that allows motorists to choose whether to run them on LPG or petrol.

"The dual fuel means there is a back-up in case you can't get to a garage that has auto gas," said Mr Dear.

"But there are about 550 filling points countrywide and that has grown from 300 in the past six months.

"There's a new gas point opening every day.

"It's really taken off in the past 12 months and there will be a hell of an increase in the next two years."

The conversions cost around £1,200. For more details, telephone Drive-By-Gas on 023 8042 2422.