With gas prices on the rise and supplies on the decline, more and more drivers are converting their vehicles to LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), a hydrocarbon fuel comprised of propane and butane. LPG offers consumers many advantages, among them less expensive fuel, lower emissions, and improved engine life.
With more than 7,000 stations across the United States and Canada, LPG has become easier to find, and is an economical alternative to traditional gasoline. Current costs in the United States start around $2 per gallon, while gas prices are creeping toward $4+ per gallon. Keep in mind that LPG packs less punch per gallon – providing about 28% less energy than gasoline – so you'll need more fuel to drive the same distance. However, consumers report that the increased fuel consumption is more than compensated by the lower price per gallon.
LPG offers the additional benefits of a clean-burning fuel that is produced domestically. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that vehicles running on propane fuel produce 30-90% less carbon monoxide and 50% fewer air pollutants than gasoline engines. Eighty-five percent of U.S. LPG consumption is produced in country, meaning a shorter journey from production to pump – a benefit to the environment.
LPG is not only good for your budget, but also your vehicle. You'll enjoy a smoother, quieter ride and the gaseous fuel will help extend your engine life by an average of 30%. Additionally, in areas where propane conversions are common, engines that run on propane gas are often less expensive to service.
Propane-fueled cars are popular in Canada and Europe, and the United States is catching on. Duel-fuel vehicles – those that run on gasoline and LPG – are currently the favored conversion, allowing drivers to run on propane but also use gasoline as a backup fuel source. In the U.S., expect to pay around $3,000 for conversion with a qualified engineer; the entire process is usually finished in a day. Don't cut corners on installation, as low-budget conversions are more prone to problems.
If you drive more than 10,000 miles per year, or if you spend a lot of time idling in traffic, a propane conversion will reap financial benefits. Most drivers report recovering the cost of vehicle conversion within one to three years, depending on local LPG costs and miles driven. Considering the additional advantages to the environment and your vehicle's maintenance costs, an LPG conversion is an excellent choice for your piece of mind and your wallet.