In a time when there is a keen focus on protecting the environment and preserving natural resources, the use of autogas as an alternative fuel source continues to gain traction in nations throughout the world. What is autogas? Also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), autogas is the product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining.
The LPG family consists of several hydrocarbon gases that are liquefied via pressurization and used as fuel. The main advantage of using propane for auto gas as opposed to butane, propylene, ethylene or ethane is that propane works best in cold weather. Propane’s low boiling point (approximately -42°C), ensures the gas will not vaporize in extreme weather conditions.
What Is Autogas Used For?
By far, the most common use for autogas is for fueling automobiles – propane autogas is actually the third-most popular automobile fuel source behind gasoline and diesel. Autogas can also be used in stationary applications such as providing fuel for electrical power generators.
Where Does Autogas Come From?
About 98 percent of all autogas used in the world is produced in the United States. However, only about three percent of the approximately 21 million vehicles in the world — including 10 million in Europe — that run on autogas are found in America.
The primary reasons that autogas has yet to attain mass appeal in the U.S. is the the reluctance of many Americans to accept alternative energy sources. Roughly one-half of the world’s autogas consumption occurs in five countries: South Korea, Turkey, Italy, Australia and Poland.
What Are the Benefits of Autogas?
The many benefits of propane autogas include:
Abundant supply — Because of the relatively low demand for propane in the U.S., there is an ample supply of autogas. Manufacturers can also easily produce much more if needed. This makes autogas low in cost compared to other fuel sources and can significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Economical — It can be extremely economical to operate your vehicle with autogas. Historically, autogas prices have been about $1.00 per gallon less than other fuel sources such as gasoline and diesel. This can make autogas an extremely cost-effective solution for companies operating large fleets.
Safe — When handled and used properly, autogas can be just as safe, if not safer, than other fuels. Specially designed autogas tanks are up to 20 times more puncture-resistant than traditional gasoline tanks.
Proven technology — The fact that so many countries rely heavily on autogas as a fuel source is proof of its long-term effectiveness.
What Are the Environmental Benefits of Autogas?
Perhaps the best reason to switch to autogas is that it provides an environmentally friendly fuel alternative. Autogas is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer harmful emissions than gasoline. In fact, autogas is listed as a clean-burning fuel in the Clean Air Act of 1990 and the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Autogas can reduce carbon monoxide emissions by up to 20 percent, nitrous oxide emissions by up to 40 percent, and carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 18 percent.
Which Cars Use Autogas?
Various auto manufacturers now produce bi-fuel models that can run on autogas, including:
How to Convert Vehicles to Autogas
Some vehicles that were not manufactured to run on autogas can easily be converted to do so. Aftermarket autogas conversion kits are available for a cost in the range of $5,000 to $7,000, which can usually be recouped in the form of reduced fuel costs over time. It’s important to make sure any conversion kit is EPA-certified in order to comply with emissions requirements.
Where to Buy Autogas
The use of autogas is increasing slowly but surely in many parts of the United States. If you’d like to know where to get autogas, there are now approximately 19,500 alternative fuel filling stations across the country, many of which now sell autogas. Use this Alternative Fueling Station Locator to find a station near you.
Foster Fuels has installed multiple autogas dispensing stations to help schools and businesses reduce their fuel costs, while doing their part to protect the environment. All Foster Fuels autogas dispensing stations are installed by our certified technicians, and we also offer training for school bus drivers and maintenance workers so they know how to safely dispense the fuel into their vehicles.