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Autogas FAQs

LPG stands for liquefied petroleum gas, and in the case of Autogas, it is mainly comprised of propane. It is a by- product of oil which exists as a gas under normal atmospheric pressure and becomes a liquid at very low temperatures and under pressure. This means it can be very conveniently stored as a liquid in a pressurised tank or steel cylinder. When the pressure is released, the liquid boils to form a vapour and makes up about 250 times its volume as a liquid. Propane burns easier without creating many of the noxious intermediates found in petrol vehicle exhaust emissions.

There are two main types of tank available installed in vehicles:

  1. Cylinder which fits along the rear seats
  2. Toroidal (same shape as the spare tyre) that fits in the spare tyre well.
1. Cylinder   2. Toroidal
Autogas Cylinder   Autogas Toroidal

There are also other tanks options that will fit most vehicles, in some cases without losing any space on the vehicle.

Autogas Tank Options
Depending on your engine there is a large choice of type of equipment. EAS System: Eurogas Advanced System. This is a self-learning system that uses slightly older technology than the other two types available and is most suited to older vehicles. It does, however, feature a self-learning capability which learns the driver’s habits and technique of driving to improve the performance of the vehicle. Typical mpg performance is 20% lower than the petrol equivalent. IGS System: Injected Gas System. This is one of the most advanced systems available and is most suitable for modern petrol engines with electronic fuel injection and catalytic convertor. It returns a similar efficiency as the EAS kit, but is a lot more reliable on modern engines. This system also has a learning capability and also takes into account throttle position, gas temperature, lambda ratio, intake manifold absolute pressure, engine temperature, engine rpm and petrol injector signals to maximise performance. GI System: Sequential Gas Injection System. This is the latest kit to become available and it is again designed for modern engines with electronic fuel injection and catalytic convertors. This kit is the most expensive and, according to the manufacturers of the equipment, the fuel economy is much improved with around a 2% reduction in mpg over a petrol model so the extra cost will soon be recouped. However, this kit is still in its early days so other models other than the manufacturers own are not yet available. The liquid is injected just above the cylinder and is introduced via elecronically controlled valves giving a higher accuracy and therefore improved mpg performance with no loss of power or performance. Sequential Gas Injection System
Very safe. The gas tanks have been subjected to truly rigorous tests and are much stronger than comparable petrol tanks. New safety valves in the tank activate automatically, ensuring that gas can no longer flow from the tank. Moreover, an autogas car has a closed and environmentally sound fuel system, which prevents fuel spillage and evaporation.
If you run out of gas some systems will automatically switch back over to petrol. With other systems it will be necessary to manually push a button. However, there is also a manual select button to change over to petrol should you wish.
Filling up with Autogas is done in a closed system. In other words, you make a sealed connection and then the gas is pumped in until a maximum capacity (85% full) has been reached. The process takes fractionally longer than filling with petrol.
There are many different makes of Autogas equipment for the car but the more popular brands are Landi, Landi Renzo, Tartarini and OMVL.
There are many installers of Autogas equipment around the country. However, customers are recommended to only use converters approved by the LPG Association (currently approximately 190). A full list of these can be obtained through Countrywide or alternatively the list can be accessed on the LPG Association’s website on www.uklpg.org. Prices do vary and it is always worth shopping around for the best deal. Remember that cheapest is not always best, and you may lose more mpg than with a more expensive kit. The average price for most modern cars is around £1500.00 + VAT.
Many car manufacturers offer a LPG option on their models in Europe (including Ford, Opel, VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat and Renault) but do not import these models to the UK in view of the smaller LPG market. In the UK, Mazda has authorised a company to undertake conversions. Autogas Vans again, are not imported to the UK, but some petrol vans are available for conversion to LPG, with warranty. Further details can be found on www.drivelpg.co.uk.
All the major fuel companies (Esso, Texaco, Shell, Jet, BP), as well as the supermarket fuel outlets are all currently putting in sites around the country. There are currently almost 1300 outlets that sell autogas. A current list is available on the Drive LPG website (see Useful Website links).
LPG has been available in Holland, Italy and France for many years. Additionally, Spain, who historically only used LPG for taxis and public vehicles has now opened up public fuelling sites. LPG may be sold under a variety of names – “LPG”, “GPL” and “Autogas” are the most common. There are no restrictions on LPG fuelled vehicles using ferries to Europe, with the exception of Speedferries who require the conversion to be either by the vehicle manufacturer or have proof that the conversion has been carried out by an LPGA Approved Convertor by way of a valid LPG conversion certificate. Currently Eurotunnel does not allow LPG vehicles (or any alternative fuelled vehicles) on its Le Shuttle services and vehicles can be checked and refused access. However, the LPG Association continues to lobby for a change in this ruling and it is hoped that this may become possible in the not too distant future. There are currently three refuelling systems in Europe – Dutch Bayonet (used in UK, Holland and Switzerland), Italian Dish (used in Italy, France, Portugal and Scandinavia) and ACME thread (used in Germany, Austria, Belgium and Eire) and in some countries all three systems are used. Most continental motorway service areas hold “adaptors” and these should always be used with great care. Adaptors should always be securely fitted to the vehicle filling point before the filling nozzle is attached and should never be fitted to the nozzle itself. However, it may be advisable to have your own adaptor which can be obtained from some conversion companies. For further details of refuelling sites in Europe, log on to www.drivelpg.co.uk.
The price of LPG is currently about half the cost of petrol and diesel and looks to continue at this rate for the immediate future.
For vehicles registered after 1st March 2001, Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is charged according to a vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions and fuel type. CO2 figures are submitted by the vehicle manufacturer and recorded on the vehicle logbook. A vehicle manufacturer will register the lower figure for their LPG cars. No changes after registration are permitted even if the car is subsequently converted to run on LPG. However, cars with appropriate documentation (e.g. LPGA conversion certificate) are accepted as an Alternative Fuel Car and on submitting the documentation to the DVLA, will be eligible for a standard reduction in VED. For further details of the new Vehicle Excise Duty bands, log on to the Vehicle Certification Agency website at www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk or use the VED calculator on www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/ved if you are thinking of buying a brand new car.
The current Autogas Duty can be checked on the Government website here.
It is possible to have your own tank installed at your home or office as long as you would be using sufficient LPG to make it worth your while economically. Vehicle mileage of around 100,000 miles per annum combined, is the cut-off point for most vehicles, although this will vary depending on the type of vehicle’s mpg. There are many siting regulations to be observed in installing your own tank and a site survey will be required prior to installation. Planning permission should also be sought. The Autogas tank comes in a 1900 litre (1000kg) tank. For the 1900 litre tank, the base sizes are:
  • 2.4 m x 2.2 m x 150 mm
  • 3.4 m x 1.2 m x 150 mm
For the skid units, the base sizes vary so dimensions would be provided at the time of the site survey. The electrical connections to the base need to be 32 amp, three core armoured cable. This is because the pump runs at approximately 18 amps but has a start up rating of 28 amps.
We can only accept a motorhome for domestic use only if you have an outside filling point on the vehicle. We do not allow stand alone cylinders to be filled due to Health & Safety reasons.
Unfortunately we do not offer this service. Although we understand the self-fill cylinders carry their own health and safety tests, as the site operator we have a clear H&S legal duty to ensure the cylinders are fully compliant and the person filling is competent. Given our sites are unmanned we cannot monitor the filling of cylinders and meet this duty of care. Further clarification can be found on UKLPG’s website.