© Cornwall Autogas & MOT Centre

Crane Garage, Longdowns, Penryn , Cornwall

LPG and the Environment

The problem with conventional petrol & diesel engines.

Quite apart from the environmental impact motor vehicles have on our lives, as the number of vehicles on our roads continues to grow we are having to face the fact that stocks of conventional petrol and diesel fuels could be exhausted within just 50 years.

If society is not prepared to reduce its dependence on cars, our only other option is in some way to reduce the emissions factor of our journeys – either by making vehicles much more fuel-efficient, or by using an alternative, readily available and non-polluting source of fuel.

Enormous technical advances have already been made in the reduction of toxic exhaust emissions over the last 25 years – particularly the introduction of unleaded fuel and catalytic converters and significant improvements in vehicle fuel economy.

Since 1993, European regulations have imposed strict emissions standards on all new cars, resulting in the elimination of up to 95% of vehicle toxic emissions. This excludes carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that current technology cannot filter out. CO2 emissions are greenhouse gases which contribute towards global climate change. A typical car produces its own weight in CO2 every 4500 miles.

How can LPG help to protect the environment?

A vehicle developed, engineered and calibrated to run on LPG produces lower emissions of carbon dioxide (one of the major causes of global warming), carbon monoxide nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons in comparison to petrol, as well as lower levels of nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions (the key harmful pollutants affecting local air quality and health) compared to diesel. LPG also offers a high octane rating which allows high engine compression ratios to be used – an important factor in improving combustion efficiency and reducing overall emission levels still further.

In Europe, improving ambient air quality is a political priority and many European cities are now enforcing access restrictions, which permit only vehicles classified as ‘low emission’ to enter central areas. In London, for example, new ‘congestion charge areas’ came into effect in February 2003 – although it has been announced that users of approved vehicles (running on a cleaner fuel such as LPG) will be exempt from the proposed £5 entry charge provided they purchase a £10 annual licence. Other UK cities are planning similar measures in the near future, while some local authorities have set targets for a percentage of certain types of vehicles – such as city centre buses and taxis – to be operating on alternative fuels within an agreed time span.