Travel: Green Channel

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Such is the state of Britain's railways that travellers often find it cheaper and more convenient to rent a car, especially if several people can share it. If you're the type who can't go near a car without being overcome by environmental guilt, you will be pleased to hear about the Budget Rent-a-Car new gas-powered car - the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Ford Mondeo 1.8.

So what does this car do for the environment? Apparently it produces 80 per cent less carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide than petrol-fuelled cars and 75 per cent less hydrocarbon gases - the ones that contribute to global warming, form smog or destroy the ozone layer - so is greener and cleaner.

The bonus is that it's also cheaper. At 39p per litre, it costs around 24p per litre less than petrol. Calor Gas, which supplies the fuel, is planning to establish 200 refuelling sites around the country within the next 18 months, but if a gas station proves hard to find, you can just press a button and switch to the unleaded petrol tank. At the moment, the LPG cars are available only from Budget Rent-a-Car at Heathrow Airport and Victoria station, but there are plans for them to be available from offices around the country soon.

One place you may like to wend your way to for an ecological family break is the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, Powys, Wales. It is a living, working example of all things green - solar and wind power, organic farming, sustainable living - and with theatre and workshops for children, a self-build, low-energy house to visit, a wind pavilion and an adventure playground amongst its many attractions, it provides information for all ages on environmental living. You can also go through a "transport maze" to learn more about the UK's transport dilemmas, tour the surrounding area using a free Green Guide to the Dyfi valley, and cycle through the newly launched Welsh cycle route, Lon Las Cymru. CAT will give a 10 per cent discount to anyone arriving by gas-powered car.

Budget Rent-a-Car (0541 565656); Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Powys, Wales (01654 702400)

Sue Wheat

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