What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Converting a Gasoline Car to Run on LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)?

February 8, 2024

Are you thinking of switching your conventional gasoline or diesel car to run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)? Before you make that decision, it’s crucial to have all the facts about this alternative fuel source. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore both the advantages and downsides of LPG conversion for your vehicle. We’ll cover aspects related to cost, performance, emissions, and more. Buckle up, and let’s dive into the world of LPG-fueled cars.

The LPG Conversion Process

If you’re not familiar with the term, LPG, or liquefied petroleum gas, is a type of flammable hydrocarbon gas primarily used as fuel in vehicles. It’s also known as propane. The process of altering a vehicle’s engine to use LPG instead of petrol or diesel is what we refer to as an LPG conversion.

Converting your vehicle to run on LPG involves installing a separate fuel system. This system includes a tank, pipes, and a vaporizer that converts the liquid gas into a vapour for combustion in the engine. It’s important to note that after conversion, your car will become a dual-fuel vehicle, meaning it can still run on petrol or diesel, in addition to LPG.

Advantages of LPG Conversion

There are several compelling reasons why you might want to convert your car to run on LPG.

1. Lower Fuel Cost

One of the significant advantages of LPG is its cost-effectiveness. With fuel prices constantly fluctuating, the lower cost of LPG can provide significant savings. On average, LPG is about half the price of petrol. So, while the initial conversion costs can be high, you can recoup these costs over time through reduced fuel expenses.

2. Environmental Impact

Another proven advantage of using LPG as a fuel source is its reduced environmental impact. LPG burns cleaner than petrol or diesel, leading to fewer emissions. Specifically, LPG vehicles emit less carbon dioxide, a primary contributor to global warming. They also release fewer particulates, which can improve air quality. So, if you’re environmentally conscious, LPG conversion can be a significant step towards reducing your carbon footprint.

3. Engine Longevity

LPG burns cleaner than petrol or diesel. This means your engine will experience less wear and tear, potentially extending its lifespan. Reduced engine wear also means less frequent maintenance, which can save you money in the long run.

Drawbacks of LPG Conversion

While there are undeniable benefits to LPG conversion, it’s only fair that we also address the potential drawbacks.

1. Conversion Cost

The initial cost of LPG conversion can be quite steep. Depending on the type of vehicle and the conversion system you choose, costs can range from $1,500 to $4,000. This cost includes the installation of the LPG tank and system, along with any necessary adjustments to the engine. Therefore, it may take a few years of driving to recoup this initial investment through reduced fuel costs.

2. Reduced Boot Space

The LPG tank is typically installed in the boot of your vehicle. Depending on the size of the tank, this can significantly reduce your available boot space. So, if you often need a lot of trunk space for luggage, shopping, or other items, this could be a significant downside of LPG conversion.

3. Limited LPG Availability

While LPG is generally available at most large petrol stations, there may be areas where it’s harder to find. If you frequently travel to remote locations, you may have difficulty finding places to refill your LPG tank. However, since the car can still run on petrol or diesel, this drawback isn’t as significant as it might seem at first glance.

By now, you should have a clearer picture of the advantages and disadvantages of LPG conversion. As with any significant decision, it’s essential to weigh these factors against your personal needs and circumstances. By doing so, you can make an informed decision about whether LPG conversion is the right choice for you.

The Future of LPG Cars and Its Alternatives

As we continue to face the challenges of climate change and depleting fossil fuels, the global community is increasingly seeking cleaner, more sustainable methods of transportation. In this context, it’s essential to consider the future of LPG cars and the emerging alternatives.

LPG cars have made significant inroads in some markets, particularly in Europe and Australia, where the availability of LPG is high, and the government provides incentives for LPG conversion. However, it’s also vital to consider the growing popularity of other alternative fuels.

Electric vehicles (EVs) have gained significant traction in recent years, with many countries setting ambitious goals to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles over the next few decades. Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, making them an even cleaner alternative to LPG. However, their high purchase cost and the need for a robust charging infrastructure are significant barriers to mass adoption.

Natural gas vehicles (NGVs), another alternative, run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). NGVs produce fewer emissions than traditional cars and are often more fuel-efficient than their petrol or diesel counterparts. Still, like EVs, they require a significant initial investment and a comprehensive refuelling infrastructure.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) are another promising alternative. These vehicles convert hydrogen into electricity, emitting only water vapour as a byproduct. However, they face similar challenges to EVs and NGVs, including high costs and the need for an extensive refuelling network.

As we look into the future, it’s clear that LPG cars will continue to play a role in the short to medium term, particularly in regions where LPG is readily available. However, the emergence of electric, natural gas, and hydrogen vehicles suggests a diverse and increasingly clean future for personal transportation.

Conclusion

Choosing the right fuel for your vehicle is a complex decision that requires careful consideration. LPG conversion can offer cost savings, environmental benefits, and potentially increase your engine’s longevity. However, it also involves a substantial initial investment, can reduce your boot space, and may limit fuel availability in certain areas.

Beyond LPG, alternative fuels like electricity, natural gas, and hydrogen present promising ways forward, each with its benefits and challenges.

Ultimately, the choice to convert your petrol or diesel car into an LPG vehicle will depend on your personal needs, circumstances, and priorities. Do you prioritize lower fuel costs and a cleaner environment? Or is the initial investment, potentially reduced boot space, and limited fuel availability a deal-breaker for you?

Keep in mind that the transportation landscape is evolving, and today’s cutting-edge alternative may become tomorrow’s standard. Therefore, staying informed about developments in the field of automotive fuels is a prudent strategy as you navigate these choices. It’s a ride into the future, and every decision counts.