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30.10.2013
Germany
Sector: LPG

More autogas - fewer emissions

LPG autogas, being a byproduct of natural gas extraction and crude oil refining, sometimes isn't considered a true alternative against petrol and diesel. Still, the fact remains: autogas contributes to reducing CO2 emissions. How much exactly?
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Tailpipe exhaust fumes© gazeo.comCO2 emissions will be around as long as the combustion engine is, but with LPG they can be reduced considerably

We've always known that autogas helps cut carbon dioxide emissions, even though converted engines consume nominally more fuel on LPG than on petrol. However, those who could really tell the precise extent of improvement have always been few and far between. Until recently, that is. Thanks to data collected by the German government and coming straight from carmakers, there is finally a tangible, credible figure available.

Before we proceed with presenting it, let us once again explain why fuel economy of autogas-powered cars apparently deteriorates compared to that of petrol counterparts. LPG, being a gas, is just less dense in the physical sense and occupies more volume (that's why it has to be stored under pressure), even though its energy content per unit of mass is actually greater than that of petrol. So, burning more litres doesn't actually mean burning more kilograms of autogas than petrol – quite the opposite! On top of that, LPG is composed of simpler hydrocarbons, which also means it produces fewer emissions. Simple enough, isn't it?

So now it's time we presented the highly anticipated figure. CO2 emissions drop by 11% when a petrol engine is converted to run on autogas. That's emissions coming directly from the tailpipe, although it's notable that emissions calculated on the well-to-wheel basis (taking into consideration the production and transport of LPG) actually drop by 15% compared to petrol. While the latter figure's bound to remain a fixed one, the former could further improve as internal combustion engines progress technologically. At least as long as carmakers devote some time and funds to developing engines running specifically on autogas.

And they probably will, since today there are already over 20 brands offering new models equipped with LPG injection systems from their dealerships. There are over 17 million LPG-powered cars on the roads of the world, with 9 million of them running in Europe (including nearly 3 million in Poland alone) and the numbers won't probably go anywhere but up, since the vast potential of shale gas and oil is being untapped just now. LPG's green credentials and the financial savings the fuel offers are bound to make it even more successful in foreseeable future. And we'll always be leading the cheer!



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Robert Markowski
source: Fleet News UK



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