Q

LPG AND CNG: Where can I get my car converted to run on LPG?

A

UK LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) is wellhead gas, rather than refined from crude oil, and current estimates are that there is enough under the North Sea to last 40 to 60 years. Usually a petrol engined car running on LPG suffers a 10% to 20% increase in fuel consumption. If it uses significantly more LPG in comparison to petrol the reason might be the siting of a crucial part of the conversion, or it may be that the fuel stations are short changing the amount of LPG they supply.

'Our' 2013 Ford Focus 1.6 Ecoboost 182 running on LPG averaged 37.7mpg (on an accurate odometer) compared to the Real MPG average of 41.5mpg. The cost was 65.9p a litre compared with 121.9p a litre for petrol and 126.9p a litre for diesel over the weeekend of the test. But it also consumed enough petrol to put the overall fuel cost for 500 miles up to £58.96, which is higher than many competitive diesel cars.

Now with more than 1,400 Autogas Limited refuelling stations across the UK, LPG drivers are never far from the cheaper fuel from the UK's number one supplier and now it's easier than ever to find the most convenient outlet. The launch of a new online site locator and route planner tool on www.autogas.ltd.uk

UKLPG have produced a pictoral guide to filling your vehicle tank with autogas. LPG Autogas is available in many countries across Europe. Where to purchase LPG in the UK.

There is now a standard conversion of the Perkins 180 diesel engine for buses and trucks, enabling them to run on LPG at the increased consumption rate of 25 to 50 per cent, but using a fuel which is less than half the price of diesel. New Citroen Xantias, Ford Mondeos, Vauxhall Vectras and Volvos with LPG conversions used to qualify for Powershift grants, but Citroen and Ford stopped offering converted cars and the EC has now stopped Powershift grants altogether.

The LP Gas Association (tel: 01425 461612; website: http://www.UKLPG.org) can recommend LPGA-accredited converters whose conversions on new cars would have qualified for Powershift grants had the EC not disallowed them. Without the benefit of the grant, conversions for older vehicles cost between £850 and £2,000. Tanks are available to fit the car's spare wheel well.

DANGEROUS CONVERSIONS

Make absolutely sure that the converter uses gas proof tubing because the gas will eat the internal surfaces of normal plastic fuel pipe.

Conversion Costs:

Conversion costs for new vehicles start at around £500, average £1,200 - £1,500 for a 4 cylinder engine, and rise to £2,000+ for V8s, V10s and V12s. See: Autogas LPG Conversion FAQs 

LPG conversion specialists include:

Progess LPG Ltd, tel: 01443 812893; www.professautogas.co.uk, Hegoed CF82 7SW; SAVE LPG Ltd., tel: 07535 600362, (multi-area); www.save-car-lpg.co.uk ; Leeds LPG Ltd, tel: 07575 771244 / 0113 2467198; Unit 2, Elland Terrace, off Holbeck Moor Road, Leeds LS11 9NW (multi area): www.leedslg.co.uk ; Autogas 2000 of Thirsk, tel: 01845 523213; Autogas Conversion Co. of Hythe, Kent, tel: 01303 840901/07970 919092, email: gasman@autogas.fsnet.co.uk; Marine Ecopower Ltd of Lymington, tel: 01590 688444; Autogas Northwest Ltd of Frodsham, Warrington, tel: 01928 710011; Millennium Autogas of Basingstoke, tel: 07771 993459; www.prinslpgnetwork.com, www.fuelture.com, The Greenfuel Company Ltd., Monkton Combe Garage, Monkton Combe, Bath BA2 7HY, Tel: 01225 722610, website www.greenfuel.org.uk, and, very useful for experienced advice www.dotslashslash.com/LPG/LPG.htm ;Alternative Fuel Systems Ltd, Spring Copse Business Park, Slinfold, West Sussex RH13 0SZ, tel 01403 791116 www.afs.uk.com LPGA & POWERSHIFT APPROVED SINCE 1999 ISO 9002 FSB & RMIF Members www.runbox.com ;  www.greenfuel.org.uk successfully converted a VW Touareg 3.2V6 to LPG, which then went on to do over 100,000 miles on LPG with no trouble, saving the owners £10,000 in fuel for an outlay of £2,300 on the conversion, part of which he later recouped on resale. 

The Natural Gas Vehicle Association, tel: 020 7388 7598, can supply a list of CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) 'Gas Stations'. The phone number for British Gas for vehicles is: 01784 646030. The Autogas Installers and Retailers Association (01663 732030) claims to supply 'the only completely accurate and up-to-date list of outlets'. 


Dealer Specialising in LPG Converted Cars www.bathcars.co.uk

Independent Information on Bad Conversions: www.lpginfo.co.uk

Tunnels:

Please note that cars with LPG or CNG conversions are not permitted to travel through the Channel Tunnel or through other mainland Europe tunnels.

Quality of LPG:

Warning: Reader Bruce Purvis has come up with the following vital information to anyone considering an LPG conversion in the UK: Basically, our LPG is of inferior quality to LPG in mainland Europe:-

"I have begun enquiries about having na LPG conversion, and the engineer at a major installer in the area advises that one of the factors to weigh up is the quality of the fuel. He reckoned that unlike the continent, where the fuel is adapted for automotive use, most if not all of that available in the UK is simply domestic propane. A number of implications arise: Firstly the fuel is 100% propane, not, as on the continent a 60:40 propane: butane mix. Although UK fuel has a higher energy coefficient, it burns hotter and places the engine under correspondingly greater stresses. Worse, because it is not filtered as effectively as continental fuel, there have been numerous instances of component failure arising from unfiltered inpurities. In a domestic situation this isn't an issue, because the feed is from the top of the tank, leaving any impurities below, whereas, in cars, the fuel feed is from the bottom of the tank, and all the rubbish ends up in the system. The genleman advising me showed me jars full of sludge which put me in mind of the anti-smoking lobby posters about tar-filled lungs."

Mike Chapman of the LPGA counters this with the following: "To put the record straight, BSI Inspectorate has recently completed independent tests on the quality of the LPG / autogas. These tests were to the European standard BSEN 589 and they reported that all samples tested showed UK gas to be amongst the cleanest in Europe. There have been reports of contamination, and the Association and the gas companies will continue to investigate such cases. In cases where we have been able to isolate the source it has been a problem with the conversion equipment fitted to the vehicle and not the gas. As regards the mix of butane and propane, here again the correspondent is incorrect. Butane burns hotter than propane(albeit by an academic amount). In the UK the gas is about 95% propane whereas a different proportion is used in countries throughout Europe. This proportion ranges from 30% propane up to the 95% propane in the UK and in some countries the proportion changes seasonally during the year. The proportion of propane is not therefore relevant to using autogas.

http://www.UKLPG.org

Reader recommended LPG converters

AMR of Stockton, North Yorkshire (does LPG conversions for Land Rover itself).

PjcarsAutogas of Kings Langley, Herts does conversions for 4-cylinder cars for £1,050. Nissan Note 1.6 auto is a successful one, as tank fits in spare wheel well and spacsaver fits over the top, still leaving a flat luggage deck. More at PjcarsAutogas

 

 

 

 

 

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