History of autogas - Europe

Shell introduced LPG to its offer in France in mid-1930. It was bottled gas coming from the USA. In 1938, Italian company Liquigas built the first facility to refill LPG cylinders. Further development of the industry was halted by the outbreak of war.

The Netherlands

After the War, the Netherlands and Italy became pioneers of powering cars with LPG. First LPG-powered cars – imported from the States – hit the Dutch market in 1954. It was also an initiative of the Dutch importer of these cars to built first LPG refueling stations using equipment from the USA and Germany. There were 13 stations in the beginning, but a year later that number went up to 25. In 1956, there were as many as 50 autogas stations in the Netherlands and new ones were opened almost every week.

Historic Vialle HQ© VialleVialle’s headquarters in the 1980s

Steady growth of interest in autogas was in part the result of the situation around the world, e.g. the Suez Canal conflict and an increase in petrol prices associated with it. In 1960, the number of LPG stations in the Netherlands was doubled and reached 100, and eleven years later – in 1971 – there were as many as 1000 such facilities.


While writing about the Dutch market, we can’t ignore Vialle – a company founded in 1967 in Eindhoven, and named after its owner. At first the company was importing gas system components from Italy. After the oil crisis of 1970, Vialle has gained a status of market leader among LPG gas systems manufacturers in the Netherlands.

Due to growing interest in gas systems and rapid growth of the company, the production of system components was moved to third parties. This process was carried out gradually throughout 1990s. Thanks to this, Vialle could focus more on developing new products and improving their quality.

Good to know

Fast development of LPG industry is shown very well by growing sales in Europe. In 1950, it was only 300 thousand tons, ten years later it was 3 million tons, and in 1970 it amounted to 11 million tons


The development of the Italian LPG market can be described on the basis of the history of two companies from the gas industry.


Medardo Landi is said to be the pioneer of automotive power systems. In 1939, he constructed the first natural gas pressure reducer for internal combustion engines. Two years later Landi got a permission to produce the reducer, but the process did not start until after the war. An increase in sales generated an increase in production and employment, which in early 1950s led the company to building new headquarters. Medardo Landi’s premature death in 1955 caused a slight slowdown, but his widow assisted by their daughter managed to lead the company towards further development, which resulted in creating Landi-Hartog company on the Dutch market in 1958.

In 1969, Landi-Hartog introduced a new reducer that opened new markets to the company. It was praised by Mitsubishi who introduced Landi’s products to the Japanese market.

In early 1980s, Landi became a stock joint company, and since 1985 it has acted independently on the international market, using its own sales network.

Currently, Landi is one of the brands of Landi Renzo – the world’s leading manufacturer of automotive gas (LPG and CNG) supply systems.

Landi Renzo. The company was founded in 1954 by Renzo Landi, who ran it with his wife until his death in 1977. At first the company manufactured mixers which became the main export product in 1963 and 1964. They were sold to Japan, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. After the death of the company’s founder, Landi Renzo continued to operate under the leadership of his wife and their son Stefano, who became managing director of Landi Renzo S.p.A. in 1987.. In 1993, Landi Renzo took o…

Italy is another cradle of the autogas
industry. Find out more on page two!

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Piotr Złoty
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