LPG system in a car is a option that has many names for reducing maintenance costs. Instead of petrol, the car runs on natural gas, so-called LPG. Technically, the effort invested is relatively low and, in fact, the running costs are somewhat cut down. But whether the conversion really makes sense, can be read in the article below.
Differences between petrol and LPG
Petrol is a fuel that is liquid at normal temperature and air pressure.
For it to be burnt in the engine, it should be atomised. In the past, the “carburettor” was the component used for this. Today, this is done by the injection system with its nozzles.
LPG, on the other hand, is gaseous as soon as it is exposed to normal air pressure. Therefore, complex atomisation is not necessary.
Technically, this is the main difference between petrol and LPG. In its implementation as an alternative drive in petrol vehicles, however, LPG poses a few challenges. It requires:
|– A pressure-resistant tank
– A safe refuelling system
– A resistant supply line to the combustion chamber
– and a few more technical details.
This makes the conversion of a vehicle a rather expensive affair that should be thought out well.
Advantages of a gas system
The advantages of a gas system in a car are:
|– Lower fuel costs
– Better and cleaner combustion
LPG costs about half as much per litre as petrol. It will continue to receive tax breaks until 2022. Natural gas is much cleaner than petrol. Nevertheless, the installation of a gas system also needs a filter to retain foreign substances. But one should not expect miracles from the gas system in the car.
Disadvantages of a gas system
A gas system has the following disadvantages:
– High installation costs
– High maintenance costs
– Many legal requirements
– Limited range
– Higher consumption
– Potential danger in case of accident, poor maintenance, or installation errors
Depending on the vehicle, the installation costs can range from 2200 to 3000 pounds. The installation takes about 3 days at a specialist workshop. Therefore, when considering the installation of a gas system, you should also include the costs for a rental car.
A gas system requires a lot of maintenance. It is checked every two years during the general inspection. However, every reputable manufacturer recommends that the system be checked at least once a year.
The gas system is checked separately during the general inspection. This results in additional costs of approx. 20 pounds for the main inspection. The advantage, however, is that a gas system usually makes it much easier to pass the inspection of the exhaust system.
Strict regulations apply to the installation of gas systems and the components used. For this reason, it is strongly advised to have the gas system installed at a specialist workshop in your country, or in Germany. The notorious “gas system from Poland” usually only leads to the car not passing the next main inspection.
The range of pure gas operation is considerably less than with petrol operation. The fuel consumption, however, is higher.
This is due to the following reasons:
– Mandatory residual pressure in the tank
– Filling limit of the tank
– Weight of the gas system components
For legal reasons, the tank of a gas system must never be completely emptied. There must always be a residual pressure. This is for safety reasons.
In addition, the volume of a gas tank cannot be used completely. There must always be an empty space so that the gas can expand when the outside temperature is warm. All in all, it means that a tank with a nominal capacity of 70 litres ends up with an effective volume of only 40 litres. This limits the range of gas operation considerably.
After all, the tank and all the other components of the gas system weigh quite a bit. In total, consumption increases by about 1-3 litres, depending on the size of the car.
Finally, the potential danger posed by a gas system in a car should be mentioned. After all, it is a pressurised system filled with flammable or explosive gas.
With systems manufactured and installed in your country, or in Germany, this danger is minimised by innovative safety technology. With cheap foreign systems, however, there can be no question of safety. There have already been many bad accidents here in the past.
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Do precise calculations
Since natural gas costs about half as much as petrol, the installation of a gas system can be worthwhile. Manufacturers and service stations indicate a mileage of about 45,000 kilometres, above which the system pays for itself. From this mileage on, the gas system practically earns money. This makes it an interesting investment, despite the many doubts.
Do not be afraid
One should not be frightened by the wild rumour mill that surrounds the installation of a gas system. The biggest prejudice in favour of this type of drive is that a gas system would burn hotter and thus damage the valves. Here we have to say: this is sheer nonsense. Too hot combustion occurs when the engine runs too “poorly”. This happens when there is too much air in the petrol-air mixture. If the engine burns too hot, this is usually caused by a technical defect.
Checklist for the installation of a gas system
To install a gas system, the following checklist may be helpful:
– How many kilometres are driven per year?
– Is the car used for long distance, short distance or mixed?
– How old is the car?
- Since a gas system only pays for itself up from about 45,000 kilometres, used cars with high mileage are ruled out. It makes no sense to equip a car with a gas system that is unlikely to reach its amortisation limit.
- A gas system only switches on when the engine is at operating temperature. So, if the car is only used for short distances, you don’t get much out of the conversion.
- But if the car is new and will be used for long distances, then investing in a gas system usually makes a lot of sense. But please: Always pay attention to German quality. Ideally, the gas system should be installed by the new car dealer from whom the car is purchased. This way you will have the least trouble with responsibilities in the event of a warranty claim.
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