LPG – Liquified Petroleum Gas is a fuel for gasoline engines. About 400.000 passenger cars are equipped with LPG on the roads in Germany. A car, whose drive is converted to LPG, drives with the help of the same or with gasoline. You can easily switch between the two fuels while driving. Normally the engines start with gasoline and as soon as the engine is warm enough, the system switches automatically to LPG. In Germany, many car companies offer LPG ex works or as a direct conversion for new cars.
What LPG consists of?
Autogas, liquid gas or LPG basically consists of a mixture of butane and propane. These two main components of the autogas are developed during the petroleum extraction, but also during the refinery of diesel, gasoline and other fuels.
Retrofitting with LPG and costs
As already mentioned, there are many car manufacturers that equip vehicles as standard with LPG offer as fuel. Basically, the alternative fuel LPG is suitable for cars that previously run on gasoline. Only a few gasoline engines cannot be converted with LPG. Since LPG burns hotter than gasoline, sometimes the exhaust valves have to be replaced with a gas resistant version. In addition, there are solutions with additionally injected additives that protect the valves.
For the conversion there are professional LPG conversion companies. The costs are about. 1.500 – 3.000 €. The price depends on the type of vehicle and engine. During the conversion, the gas system with filter, gas vaporizer, injectors and possible additive tank is installed in the engine compartment. An additional tank is also installed for the gas. Most often wheel well tanks are used for this purpose, which find their place at the location of the spare wheel. The connection for the tank nozzle comes either next to the usual tank nozzle behind the fuel filler flap or is installed in the rear apron of the vehicle.
Since with the conversions at the engine conversions are made, the manufacturer warranty for the aggregate expires. Serious retrofitters, however, accept them 100 percent. Therefore, when retrofitting the vehicle, it is important to pay close attention to the following points.
Below is an overview of the conversion costs for specific passenger cars: PDF
Range due to LPG
The range of a converted car with LPG, as with any other fuel, depends on the size of the installed tank, because it can vary from vehicle to vehicle. It should also be noted that an LPG tank can only be filled to 80 percent for safety reasons. Then the fuel pump switches off automatically. The remaining 20 percent serves as a buffer in case of strong expansion of the gas. A 60-liter tank can therefore effectively hold 48 liters of LPG. With LPG the vehicle consumes about 10 percent more than with gasoline. If a car consumes about 10 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers, a vehicle running on LPG consumes 11 liters of LPG. With our example tank of 48 liters capacity, the range is therefore about 430 kilometers with LPG. Since the normal gasoline tank also remains in the car, the range with gasoline is added once again. If our example vehicle fills up with 60 liters of gasoline, a total of over 1000 kilometers is possible.
How to refuel LPG?
Autogas can already be refueled at many gas stations. Depending on how the vehicle was retrofitted, an appropriate adapter must be screwed on. The nozzle can then be connected to the adapter or directly to the vehicle. After that, a so-called “dead man’s switch” must be pressed at the gas pump for refueling. This must be kept depressed throughout. As soon as you let go, the refueling process is finished. When the tank is 80 percent full, the system stops automatically. When the nozzle is removed, a small amount of LPG escapes still in the hose. This is completely normal and absolutely safe.
Maintenance costs after conversion to LPG
After the vehicle has been converted, there are additional maintenance costs. This includes, among other things, changing the filter, checking the connections, fastenings and hoses, and testing for leaks. This is usually done as part of the regular inspection. After accidents or fires, a gas system check is also on the agenda. Every two years, the LPG system is also tested during the general inspection (HU).
LPG prices and promotion
The price per liter of LPG varies between 45 and 90 cents, depending on the region. Prices are generally slower and less volatile than gasoline. The tax on LPG is currently favorable. This benefit decreases every year and it is planned that from 2023 there will be no more tax benefit. Then the liter of LPG costs just under 15 cents more, which is still well below the cost of gasoline and diesel.
LPG and the environment
In the course of the discussions about pollutant emissions from passenger cars LPG An interesting alternative. Comparisons have already shown in 2017 that LPG vehicles emit significantly less nitrogen oxides and particulate matter has also been reduced by up to 99 percent compared to petrol operation. In addition, the CO2 values of LPG vehicles are impressive, being 15 percent lower than those of comparable gasoline vehicles.