What Are The Alternative Fuels for Cars? - LPG
Nov 28 2018 Read 853 Times
Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a convenient energy source, often used for heating and cooking in mobile homes and caravans. As a vehicle fuel, it is rarely used, despite its many advantages. In this post - the fourth in a six-part series - we’re going to take a look at how LPG is made, how it’s used and the benefits of the fuel alternative.
How is LPG made?
LPG has two main sources - the extraction of natural gas and oil and the refinement of crude oil. It can be separated from unprocessed natural gas through refrigeration and extracted from crude oil in a distillation tower. Originally, LPG was burnt off and wasted as an unwanted and non-usable by-product of oil and gas production. Now, however, it’s recognised and used as a versatile low-carbon fuel source.
Converting to LPG
Very few cars are built initially to run off LPG. Most are converted after purchase. Converting your vehicle to run on LPG involves adding a second fuel system, with its own tank, to your car. It’s usually fitted inside your boot or underneath the vehicle.
It is relatively costly to have your car converted to LPG and it can only work on cars large enough to fit a tank in the boot or spare tyre well. So, is the conversion worth it?
Due to the lower costs of LPG, compared to both petrol and diesel, you’ll find yourself saving up to 40% on your fuel each month. This price difference makes up for the reduction in efficiency, as you tend to get less miles per litre from LPG.
You’ll also benefit from a reduction in road tax due to LPG being a much cleaner fuel. It gives off around 20% less carbon dioxide emissions, eliminating particulate emissions almost entirely. The absence of particulates means you can actually prolong the life of your engine on many occasions.
As previously discussed, the initial conversion to LPG can be rather costly. The installation of a new LPG fuel tank can cost up to £2,000 and will need to be serviced each year. However, the reduced fuel costs overall will make the initial cost worthwhile financially in the long run.
One of the main factors that puts drivers off LPG conversions, aside from a lack of information, is the limited availability of fuelling stations across the UK. That said, there are over 1,400 stations around the country that serve LPG, so it’s not as rare as you may think.
Another disadvantage of LPG, compared to other alternative fuels, is that it isn’t renewable. As it’s produced from the extraction of natural gas and oil, it is dependent on fossil fuels existing in the ground. So, once the fossil fuels run out, LPG will run out too.
Consider your options
If the environmental benefits of LPG appeal to you, but you’re looking for a renewable resource, perhaps a hydrogen-fuelled or biofuel vehicle is for you. Our next post will look at thermoelectricity as an alternative fuel.
Alternatively, you can find out more about gas in the petrochemical industry in the article ‘Detecting danger – the mission critical role of gas detectors and high precision calibration gas mixtures in the petrochemical industry’.
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