Friday, 4 July 2008


What is LPG ?

LPG is a natural hydrocarbon fuel made up of propane and butane, and is an abundant by-product of the oil and gas industries. The burning of LPG produces less carbon dioxide than other fuels, meaning a smaller contribution to global warming.

It also has the property of turning from gas to liquid at atmospheric temperature if moderately compressed, meaning it can be easily stored as a liquid and turned back into gas simply by relieving the pressure. And because it is 250 times denser as a liquid, a lot can be stored in a relatively small container.

LPG has a lot of uses, including home heating, refrigeration, air-conditioning and the industrial manufacture of paper, textiles, glass and heavy ceramics. But it is in motoring where the gas is gaining most attention, with around 1,300 UK service stations currently offering LPG, which is sometimes known as Autogas.

Where does it come from?
Lpg in gas form comes from the North Sea – there’s plenty of it being pumped out as they extract the oil It is obtained as a by-product of the distillation of oil from crude oil and from "wet" North Sea gas. It is produced in large quantities, a surplus of approximately 4 million tonnes per annum is currently available from the North Sea . This surplus is forecast to increase over the next 20 years. The UK is a net exporter of the gas.


Where can I buy it?
Currently there are well over 1300 stations in the UK with the gas with more being set up you can hunt these down
here or here . Its pretty likely that a station near you and either ignored it or just didn’t realise it! Plus I have noticed that more are opening up than are on the lists.

How much does it cost?
The average is about 57 p per litre – but for more detail you can look

Who can help me find a LPG conversion specialist?
Now I’m not in the business of recommending people to a particular supplier – But basically you need to do a bit of home work on where you live to get a hold of a supplier this I how I did it.

I googled it and followed the natural search links to see who was out there I figured if they have a web site and have put enough time and effort to get good rankings on google they must be pretty committed to making their business work online and driving business to them.

The next thing I did was hunt around for suppliers on this website – the
LPGA (approved fitters network) If you get your car converted with an installer who is part of this network you get a certificate for your car insurers if required. I built a shortlist and then looked for indicative prices on their website – pinged a few emails got some quotes and picked an outfit.

Who is converting your car?
These guys are –
LPG Cars Ltd they had a reasonable price – their whole business is converting cars and they have plenty of people who like what they are doing – I will follow up with a more detailed review / pictures etc. on how they did once the conversions are all done.

Is LPG dangerous?
There seem to be loads of urban myths on the internet about safety – but it appears most car fires are caused by faulty electrics – leaky fuel pipes etc. In the main LPG is very safe. Its used in a stack of stuff from lighters to patio heaters (not my favourite form of outdoor heating (put a jumper on!) or build a conservatory!

Plus the great thing is the tanks they put in are really strong mainly because it has to take stuff under pressure so they build these things to take a knock or two. They have to be at least 4 mm thick steel. Most petrol tanks are either thin steel / or plastic to find out more read this here

The tank and gas pipes are fitted with numerous safety devices. The gas flow will automatically stop if the pipes are damaged or the engine is not running. If the vehicle catches fire, the gas tank pressure is controlled via cylinder venting, which will prevent the tank from rupturing and causing further damage.

Its as safe as it can be right now.. but I would not recommend installing this stuff yourself unless you are a very very competent mechanic.

Why convert my petrol car?
Its cheaper fuel, its pretty safe and you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Is it really more environmentally friendly ?
LPG is more environmentally friendly because it emits 20% less CO2
A 400,000 Euro emission programme has recently completed, comparing the emissions from petrol, diesel and LPG vehicles:
Compared with petrol, vehicles running on LPG emit about 20% less CO2.
Compared with diesel, one diesel car is equivalent to 20 LPG cars with regard to NOx, and 120 LPG vehicles with regard to particulates.
Diesel emits substantially more fine particles than LPG.

Can you convert a diesel car?
Nope – not yet and if you do you will probably kill off your engine in a short space of time it burns hotter than diesel

Why did you decide to convert your cars?
Fed up of paying crazy prices for petrol I need to save money and this is the best way I can think of to do it

What is the pay back ?
In my case its going to be about 15 months Please see my its all about the money post – but basically depending on engine size it will be about a year

Are there any disadvantages?
Yep my spare tyre won’t be there but I’ll use some tyre weld instead

What about insurance?
This will remain unaffected as long as its covered by a LPGA conversion certificate

Do you still need petrol in your petrol tank?
Yep because it starts up on petrol until the engine is warm and then it cuts in the LPG

Can I buy an LPG car?
Sure some manufacturers sell them form new – but check them out like you would any other car before buying and don’t buy without a LPGA certificate so at least you know its safely installed.

What do you think are the main criteria for converting your car?
If you do any serious mileage then get it done
If you have a car that is relatively young and you can get 25 000 plus miles out of it you are planning to keep it then get it done
If you want to save some money then get it done.
If you want to sell your LPG car and get another then you should be able to sell it pretty quickly and for a bit more.

If you want to know more then just leave a comment or ping me an email