What is LPG and what is LPG conversion?
Liquefied petroleum gas is a convenient energy source used for many purposes including for heating and cooking, as well as for vehicle fuel. Forty per cent of LPG comes from refining crude oil and 60% comes from field production.The number of vehicles and engines using LPG (also referred to as ‘autogas’) as an alternative to petroleum is growing rapidly. Of course you can’t simply use LPG in an engine that is accustomed to taking petroleum. Consequently, LPG conversion is seen as a straightforward and cost effective way of altering a petrol engine to run on LPG.
How do you get your car converted?If you are interested in an LPG conversion you must be willing to make a significant outlay – most LPG conversions cost between £800 and £1,200. However, many LPG enthusiasts claim this money can be recouped in one-two years with the money you save at the pump.The process is straightforward but should be carried out by an LPG specialist. All approved installers should make sure the right system and installer are used for your machine and should carry out a conversion based on safety, environmental impact, reliability and value for money.You will need to have significant space for the LPG tank – which is often fitted into the rear of the vehicle, sometimes in the spare wheel well. Some control panels will be fitted with a device allowing you to switch between LPG and petroleum, while the refuelling point will be placed near to the existing petroleum refuelling point.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of LPG conversion?
LPG has significant environmental and financial benefits as outlined below:
Reduces carbon emissions – By converting to LPG you can automatically reduce your environmental impact as the amount of carbon dioxide your engine produces decreases. Compared to most petroleum engines, LPG converted engines produce 20% less CO2.
Other environmental benefits – Even though LPG engines have similar CO2 output to diesel, they do have other advantages. They are much quieter than diesel engines, LPG quickly evaporates if a spillage occurs and produces fewer particulates and nitrogen oxides.
Reduces reliance on petrol and diesel – Currently the UK produces around six million tonnes of LPG every year of which around three million tonnes are exported. There is vast room for growth and there are already around 1,300 refuelling stations across the UK.
Price at the pump – The Government has shown significant support for LPG with low duty by comparison to petrol and diesel. As a result LPG is substantially cheaper at the pumps than petrol and diesel. It is estimated that a high mileage driver can save as much as 40% of their fuel costs with LPG compared to petrol, and 20% compared to diesel.
There are some disadvantages to consider too, before you decide if LPG conversion is right for you:
Initial cost – It is important to have a LPG conversion specialist carry out the installation on your machine. Generally this costs from £800 – £1,200.
Servicing/insurance costs – The LPG fuel system will need servicing at approximately once a year. Overall, these costs should be less than a typical diesel engine. You should also consider your insurance costs, as some insurance companies may charge an excess for an LPG approved conversion (others will not).