Alt Fuel #6 – LPG

Liquified Petroleum Gas is far from new. However, if we’re trying to find current alternatives to petrol and diesel, this should be taken into account.

Pros:
– Any petrol car can be modified to run on LPG. In theory, any diesel car can too, but it isn’t as advantageous and is even illegal in some countries (such as Portugal).
– Much cheaper than petrol (around half the price) and somewhat cheaper than diesel. Current trends in motor taxing will penalise diesels, making LPG all the more worthwhile moneywise.
– Much cleaner than either diesel or petrol.
– As far as alternative fuels go, this is the most widespread. Except for Spain, it’s pretty straight forward to find a pump in Europe.
– You have two fuel tanks, one for gas and one for petrol. Should one run out you always have the other, so you’ll never find yourself walking along the roadside to the nearest pump with a petrol can. This is also great for autonomy.
– Despite common misbelief, it’s safer than liquid fuels. In the case of an accident, you’re far more likely to get leakage from a petrol tank than the reinforced gas tank. Explosions are less likely too. Gas dissipates quickly at normal temperatures while liquid fuels will trickle and pool.
– If you’ve had LPG installed but don’t want it any more, the process is reversible. If you want you can strip out the tank and apparatus and use it on another car, and the car where you took it from will just have some very small holes that need covering up.

Cons:
– Space. The extra tank may occupy the place where the spare tyre should be (if the tank’s toroidal) or half the boot (if it’s cylindrical).
– The extra tank is also extra weight in the car.
– Modifying a car to run on LPG can be expensive, depending on what car you have. But depending on how far you drive, you can cover the cost in fuel savings in a year or two, so this point is pretty moot. My father installed a €600 LPG kit in a €3000 car. It took him six months for what he saved in fuel to payoff the installation and 3 years to cover the car.
– Some subterranean parking lots prohibit LPG vehicles parking inside. This, the legislators say, is due to the fact that leaked LPG can be dangerous in closed spaces. But in truth, it’s an admission of how the law fails to act upon ill-ventilated carparks where the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning are far higher than anyone getting a whiff of LPG in the air.
– It’s a by-product of petrol. So only as long as there’s a demand for lots of petrol, will LPG be cheap. And only as long as there’s petrol will there be LPG.

Intro
Hybrids and Plug-In Hybrids
Plug-In Electric Vehicles
Biodiesel, bioethanol and such
Carbon-neutral Algae-based fuels
Hydrogen fuel cells
LPG
Hybrid Retrofitting
Petrol/Diesel

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