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LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)
What Is It?
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a mixture of propane and butane. When used as a vehicle fuel it is often referred to as autogas. The simple chemical make up of the gases (click here for details) ensures that they are clean burning.
LPG has the special property of becoming liquid at atmospheric temperature if moderately compressed and reverting to gases when the pressure is sufficiently reduced. This is advantageous when transporting and storing these products in the liquid state, in which they are roughly 250 times as dense as they are when gases.
Where does it come from?
LPG is produced as a by-product in both the extraction and refining stages of oil production. In the past it has been considered waste and flared off. It is particularly abundant in the North Sea's 'wet' crude oil.
Consequently the UK is Europe's largest producer, producing 6.4 million tonnes in 2001. Of this over 3 million tonnes were exported. Only 50 thousand tonnes (7.75%) were used as autogas. The rest was used for domestic or agricultural heating or in chemical or refinery operations.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How will converting my car to LPG save me money?
- Why is LPG better for the environment?
- Is LPG safe?
- What is LPG?
- Does it matter what system I put on my car?
- How will it affect my car's performance
- How does an LPG conversion work.
- What happens if I run out of LPG?
- Can I still drive on petrol?
- What happens if I get a puncture?
- Where can I refuel?
- Can I convert my diesel to use LPG?
- How much does it cost?
- Will it damage my engine?
- What about servicing?
- Will it affect my insurance?
- Will the conversion improve the resale value of my car?
- What is going to happen to LPG prices?
- Can an LPG system be removed?
- Does anyone famous use LPG?
- Will LPG take off?
- Will I be exempt from Congestion Charging?
- How long does the conversion take?
Autogas is half the price of diesel or petrol. This is because the tax is far lower in recognition of its environmental benefits. There are also benefits such as a small reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and reduced engine wear.
Two reasons. Firstly the simple chemical nature of the fuel ensures that it burns cleaner producing less pollution. LPG has the potential to make a huge difference to local air quality, particularly in urban areas. Secondly, it is produced as a by-product of oil extraction and refining operations. The UK produces a surplus of millions of tonnes each year . LPG is by far the most valuable use for it.
Crash and fire tests have proved that the strength and integrity of tanks fitted to LPGA safety guidelines (CoP11) make the LPG fuel system safer than petrol. There are now over eight million LPG vehicles around the world. The Queen has four of them.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas, often called autogas when used to as a vehicle fuel, is made up of propane and butane. It is a by-product of oil extraction and refining operations, particularly when using North Sea 'wet' crude. Consequently, the UK has an abundant supply. Currently the UK exports LPG and imports petrol.
Yes it does - very much. It is crucial to have both the right system for your car and to have it fitted by a mechanic trained both to LPGA standards.
Modern LPG conversions suffer no noticeable loss of performance. Engines will run smoother and be slightly quieter.
The conversion adds a second independent fuel system, making the car bi-fuel or capable of running on either petrol or LPG. This requires a second tank, usually installed in the spare wheel well.
All Greenfuel conversions are dual fuel so when the car runs out of LPG it will automatically switch to petrol. This is quite normal, hardly noticeable and causes no damage to your engine. The car will normally cold start on petrol and then quickly switch over when the engine is warm. It is therefore important to have a little bit of petrol.
The conversion adds a second fuel system, leaving the original petrol system in place. Therefore the car drives as before on petrol and will normally cold start on petrol. However, when you start filling up with LPG you will be loathe to buy more petrol than you absolutely have to.
Most conversions put the LPG tank in the spare wheel well of the car so as not to reduce boot space. If you are unlucky enough to get a puncture all conversions are supplied with fully approved tyre foam. This reflates the tyre and seals the puncture until you can get it properly repaired.
The industry has invested over £100 million in the infrastructure and there are now over 1,200 LPG refuelling stations in the UK. If you do run out then the car will automatically switch over to petrol.
Although some companies are developing systems that use LPG and diesel at the same time, the Greenfuel position is that they are very different fuels. Introducing them together may cause great increases in power output and consequently mechanical problems. If, in the future, a company can demonstrate a system that is both mechanically reliable and reduces emissions, then Greenfuel will advocate its use.
This depends on the vehicle to be converted.
On the contrary, the LPG conversion will reduce engine wear. LPG burns cleaner than petrol. This means less emissions out of the exhaust and less carbon deposits in the engine. These deposits are very abrasive and can contribute to engine breakdowns. The oil and spark plugs will also last longer.
The LPG system should be inspected annually by a specialist LPG technician. This normally takes about half an hour and is consequently not expensive.
You will have to notify your insurance company. The major companies will not increase your premium provided that the work has been properly carried out.
This depends entirely on the quality of the system fitted. A good quality, reliable system is akin to having a half price fuel button on the dashboard and will be a good selling point. Unreliable equipment without proper certification will lower the value of the car.
The Government has committed itself to reducing pollution. The environmental credentials of LPG are proven. Therefore it is extremely unlikely that the duty differential between LPG and petrol and diesel will be reduced.
The system can be taken out and put on another car but there are some important issues to consider.
The Queen has two Rolls-Royces, a Daimler and a Rover running on autogas, and a refuelling facility in the Royal Mews. The Duke of Edinburgh's Metrocab runs on LPG. The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the President of the USA all use LPG cars.
Recently Brian Wilson, the Energy Minister, unveiled the 100,000th LPG car in the UK, which represents an investment of over £150 million. The Oil industries have invested over £100 million in the fuelling infrastructure. Globally there are now more than eight million vehicles powered by LPG.
Contrary to what is sometimes said, not all LPG conversions qualify for CC exemption. To qualify the car has to meet Band 4 (40% improvement on Euro IV) emissions targets.
Generally three to four days to allow time for system testing.