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21.12.2012
Poland
Sector: LPG

The pros and cons of autogas systems

When you are considering having your car converted to run on LPG, the primary question is: How much money can I save? However, there are other criteria to be taken into account, including certain drawbacks. Obviously, no solution has advantages only, but the things they should outnumber the disadvantages.
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A list of pros and cons, waiting to be completed© iStockMake a list and consider everything that is for and against. Hopefully, there will be much more on the left side of the chart

The pros:

  1. Savings at the pump – this is by far the primary criterion in favour of having a car converted to run on autogas. The more you drive, the more you save – as simple and as brilliant as that!
  2. Saving the environment – autogas-powered cars emit by 15-20% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than their petrol- and diesel-motivated counterparts and emit virtually no nitrogen oxides (NOX) or particulate matter (PM). Certain countries acknowledge LPG's eco-friendliness and introduce incentives for drivers who use it: road tax breaks, lower car insurance premiums, free parking in city centres or stable excise tax policy. Also congestion charges are often lifted off autogas-powered vehicles (as with EV's). Even when your government gives you nothing in return, you can still feel better about yourself, because your car is not as hard on Mother Nature as the average diesel.
  3. Extra driving range – any autogas system is an addition to the car, while petrol remains the base fuel. Since you can switch between the two energy sources at will, the distance you can cover after a single refill grows considerably. Running out of autogas in the middle of nowhere is not an issue, beacause you can always use some of the petrol you have (unless you do not) to reach the nearest refueling station. However, make sure you refill with LPG regularly – why use petrol and pay twice as much?
  4. An autogas-powered engine is quieter and more flexible – LPG has a high octane number (approx. 110), which means the motor runs smoother and accelerates easier from low RPM's. This is particularly useful in city driving, where there is a lot of starting and stopping over and over again and noise is a form of pollution in its own right.
  5. A gas-powered engine „lives” longer – LPG is injected into combustion chambers in the optimal form, i. e. as vapour. Engineers have been trying to make petrol enter cylinders in the form of mist for years, but with autogas it is only natural (its physical characteristics ensure that). Combustion process is also smoother and more effective, plus oil film is not washed off cylinder walls by fuel droplets.

. The cons:. Additional maintenance – as we have said already, an autogas system is an addition to the car, so – like the entire vehicle – needs certain periodic inspections and maintenance (normally once every 10 thousand km or once a year). True, it is another thing you need to remember, but then it is really not that inconvenient. It is not costly, either – given the size of savings you make, you definitely will not feel ripped off. More costly MOT inspec…
 

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