Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a clean and safe fuel that has a range of properties closest to petrol. It is a by-product of petrol refining and natural gas production. Under slight pressure, LPG turns into liquid form and can then be stored in tanks. LPG is converted back to gas before being burned in the engine.
The main advantage of converting to LPG is its low price (around half that of petrol). The government has reduced the duty on LPG (or Autogas) in recognition of its unique clean burning properties that significantly reduce vehicle emissions. The duty advantage of LPG in 2013 was about 40p/litre (compared to petrol), reducing by just 1p/litre/year.
LPG reaches the engine in a pure gas form, resulting in improved combustion and eliminating the problem of engine oil dilution by unburned petrol. The oil stays cleaner for longer. This increases engine life and can extend service intervals. Engines also run more smoothly and quietly than on petrol.
Think about these environmental savings too!
A diesel engine produces about 20 times as much NOx as an LPG engine, thus having a huge impact on air quality.
A diesel engine produces about 120 times as many ultra-fine particulates as an LPG engine. These nasty little particulates lodge in your lungs and cause respiratory problems that tend to build up over the years.
A petrol engine produces around 20% more CO2 than an LPG engine.
Three really good environmental reasons for choosing LPG, in addition to the fact that LPG is cheaper than petrol and diesel when comparing the cost per mile for fuel.
The LPG is stored in the vehicle in liquid form and contained in a substantial LPG tank. An automatic, safety valve prevents overfilling of the tank. A number of other safety features are built into the tanks including a pressure release valve and a solenoid valve to shut off the flow when the engine stops. Crash tests have shown that gas-powered vehicles are extremely safe, as LPG is more difficult to ignite than any other fuels. Due to these properties and safety features, gas-powered vehicles are safer than petrol-powered vehicles.
LPG on the forecourt costs around half the price of petrol (or less than 25p per litre if you have your own storage tank). A vehicle running on LPG will return slightly fewer miles per gallon than when running on petrol. This means the cost of running a vehicle on gas will be about 40% less than the cost of running it on petrol.
The network of filling stations able to supply LPG is still expanding. There are now over 1400 LPG filling sites in the UK with a government pledge to have at least one filling station in every town within the year. For a list of filling stations in your area try Go Autogas, Boost LPG, BP, Shell or FloGas websites.
Equipment supplied allows the engine to run on petrol or LPG at the flick of a dashboard-mounted switch. This enables instant, on-the-move switching between fuels.
With a properly installed LPG conversion and correct engine tuning there will be no noticeable loss of performance when running on gas.
With a very small number of exceptions, any petrol engine in good condition can be converted successfully. The exceptions are some direct injection engines (give us your engine code to check) and those with very soft valve seats.
You should tell your insurance company that the car has been converted to enable it to use LPG. They may ask for details of the conversion. If you have problems finding a company to insure your converted vehicle, try Sureterm Direct on 0800 999 2030. Quote your TinleyTech customer reference and they will give you a 15% discount!
LPG is a much cleaner fuel than either petrol or diesel.
LPG does not contain lead and there is hardly any discharge of hydrocarbons. Carbon monoxide is reduced significantly.
LPG reduces emissions of particulates by 90% and nitrogen oxide by 60% when compared with diesel.
As part of EU legislation, the Government reinforced its support of clean fuel, such as LPG, by introducing changes to company car tax rules in April 2002. Diesel vehicles are now penalized and discounts are given for vehicles emitting CO2 below a qualifying level. Cars powered by a combination of petrol and gas qualify for these discounts and may in future allow for larger discounts to reduce the charge below the usual minimum of 15% of the car’s value. Road fund licence levels are currently being reduced for small engined cars and it is expected that gas-powered cars’ low emissions will qualify them for discount, so further increasing savings.
Anybody with a good mechanical knowledge should be able to convert a vehicle successfully. The most important things are to follow the guidelines carefully and to be very methodical, especially with the electrical connections.
Normally a conversion will take about two days for the first one. The vehicle will still run on petrol at all times. So, a conversion could be completed at weekends or over a few evenings. Under-mounted and multi-tank installations (such as on 4×4’s) can take a little longer, but are still straight forward. The only special tool that is required is a mini pipe cutter which costs only a few pounds – a good selection of normal mechanics’ tools will also be required.
There is a code of practice covering conversions, and it is essential that each LPG conversion complies with it. The contents of the code are common sense anyway and fitting guidelines are aligned with it. A copy of the code is available to customers from Tinley Tech. Technical information direct from the Italian manufacturers ensures that the correct components are supplied and any queries can be resolved quickly and efficiently.
Once the conversion is finished the vehicle should run just as it did on petrol and it is time to start saving money!