What is LPG?
LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas and is the generic name used for mixtures of hydrocarbons, primarily propane and butane. These mixtures change from a gaseous state to a liquid when lightly compressed.
LPG is odourless, colourless and heavier than air and a chemical is added to give it a distinctive smell, so that even a very small leak can be easily detected.
Why is LPG so much cheaper than petrol?
The LPG industry is very well established in Australia and there is an abundance of supply. Australia has plentiful natural supplies of LPG and in 2005 exported 1.6 million tones overseas (3 billion litres). There is also no excise tax applied by the Australian Government on LPG. Both of these factors contribute to making LPG up to 70c a litre cheaper than petrol.
How safe is LPG?
LPG is arguably safer than any other form of fuel used to power motor vehicles. It has been used safely in Australia for many decades and the Australian standards for LPG equipment, appliances and their installation and for storage and handling are among the worlds best. Every aspect of the LPG industry is covered by a National Code or Standard and also by similar or additional State Regulations.
The LPG system in today’s modern vehicle is designed to be safe; safe in use, safe to repair and even safe in a vehicle accident. Most LPG systems have a number of important safety features including:
- A 3mm welded steel pressure cylinder which is stress-tested to many times its normal operating pressure prior to being installed
- Two electronically controlled shut-off solenoids (on cylinder and under bonnet) which stop the flow of gas to the engine if the engine stops for any reason
- Pressure relief valves for the tank and the system, to prevent any pressure build up that may damage the system, or be hazardous
- Double back-check valves to ensure gas tight filling
- Sealed compartments and venting around valves and pipe-work to ensure no LPG enters the interior of the vehicle
- Approved components to ensure long service life and
- The support of trained personnel who comply with rigorous Australian Standards for manufacture and installation of the system, in new cars at the production line, or vehicles retrofitted after purchase.
How does running my car on LPG affect the environment?
LPG Autogas powered vehicles emit significantly fewer greenhouse gases and other pollutants than their petrol-powered equivalents. With around 20% less ozone forming potential, between 10 – 15% lower greenhouse emissions and one-fifth air toxic emissions LPG is one of the most environmentally friendly fuels available.
Is the LPG used in a car different to that used in a BBQ?
Yes, there are two separate blends or grades of LPG and they cannot be interchanged. The LPG used for automotive use is a mixture of butane and propane while the LPG used for barbecues, camping etc is a blend of propane only.
What other advantages are there for using LPG?
In addition to be considerably cheaper than petrol, equally as safe and better for the environment, LPG also provides performance and fuel economy comparable with contemporary petrol powered engines.
Torque is available at lower engine revs, which aids driveability and power output of engines with EFI, when run on LPG is usually only slightly lower than on petrol – a difference most drivers would be unlikely to detect.
LPG is also a cleaner burning fuel than petrol and therefore no fuel carbon deposits are formed which means less engine wear and a longer engine life. From a maintenance point of view, the advantages of LPG over petrol include;
- Fewer oil and filter changes
- No sludge formation in engines
- Longer exhaust life
- Cleaner spark plugs
- Cylinder walls are never washed dry
- No lubricating oil dilution occurs
Where can I buy LPG?
LPG is readily available throughout the country and is acknowledged as Australia’s most wildly accepted alternative fuel. LPG is available at more than 3,200 service stations throughout Australia and this number is constantly increasing.
CLICK HERE to locate your nearest LPG outlet.