LPG is known in the German-speaking world as autogas. It is a liquid gas that consists of fuels such as butane and propane and is used, among other things, in engines for vehicle use. In this article you will learn everything about LPG as autogas: information about the LPG car and the LPG conversion, an overview of the different LPG adapters and tanks and what to expect for a LGP price when refueling and conversion. Also: the LGP filling station near you and a summary of the most important advantages and disadvantages.
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LPG meaning and characteristics
the term LPG comes from the english and means written out liquefied petroleum gas. Translated into german this would be something like liquefied petroleum gas However, the term is much more common than autogas known because the gas can be used in engines for vehicle use.
In a more general sense, LPG is also referred to as liquid gas, because it can be made liquid under low pressure. LPG consists of different fuels such as butane and popane and is also used not only in vehicles but also for other purposes such as heating or cooking. LPG is not to be confused with the terms LNG (liquefied natural gas) and CNG (compressed natural gas), which describes compressed natural gas.
In gaseous state at room temperature, LPG is heavier than air, is highly flammable and therefore forms an explosive mixture. To counteract dangers, the normally odorless LPG is therefore given an additional odorant.
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LPG car: how does driving and refueling with autogas work??
An LPG car is either a new LPG car or a car that has been retrofitted with a gas system. The latter is also called LPG conversion and is only possible for vehicles with gasoline engines; diesel engines cannot be converted to autogas. For the LPG conversion, qualified personnel install a second tank in the vehicle and lay the corresponding lines in the engine compartment.
An LPG car or a car after LPG conversion has two propulsion systems: it can either run on gasoline, or it can be switched to autogas. If the gas tank is filled up, the fuel switch in the cockpit can be used manually at any time, even while driving . As soon as the gas tank is empty, it is also automatically switched back to petrol mode.
beware of cheap conversions to avoid unnecessary problems and damage, an LPG conversion should be carried out in qualified specialist companies and cheaper companies abroad should be avoided. In addition, when converting a new vehicle, it is advisable to have a warranty insurance to be concluded, since damages in connection with the conversion are excluded by the vehicle manufacturer.
The refuel of an LPG car works in principle similar to the refueling of a gasoline engine: with a hose with a nozzle. However, behind the tank cap on the vehicle there is an adapter that must be connected to the nozzle before refueling.
Furthermore, the start button, which also serves as a safety switch, must be held down during the entire process. As soon as the storage volume of the tank is exhausted (which is usually around 80 percent), the nozzle can be loosened again. The fact that residual gas and cold escapes, is quite normal.
LPG filling station near you
The network of LPG filling stations in germany is extensive, with around 7.000 filling stations now well developed. According to the german association of liquefied petroleum gas, this means that every second filling station in germany offers autogas. You want to find your nearest LPG filling station?? You can use for example the LPG station finder of the german association for liquid gas.
Even when traveling abroad, you are generally well provided for: in countries such as the netherlands, belgium, italy, france, england and poland, the LPG filling station network is even better developed. In other countries like denmark, austria or switzerland less so. To find your nearest LPG filling station abroad, you can use the LPG filling station directory for europe.
Although the network of LPG stations is becoming more and more developed, you should keep an eye on the stock of your gas system. therefore, always plan a few liters of gasoline for long-distance trips, so that you can search for a suitable gas station in peace even if the gas tank is low.
As already mentioned, an adapter is needed for refueling an LPG car. In europe, three different adapters have become established: the ACME connection, the bayonet connection and the dish connection.
While the ACME connection is mainly used in germany, austria, poland and belgium, the bayonet connection is used in the netherlands, spain and the united kingdom, and the dish connection is used in france, greece, italy and portugal. Therefore, it may well happen that they are dependent on an additional adapter when traveling abroad.
adapters are available at certain LPG stations, sometimes alternative models are also available free of charge with the LPG conversion of your vehicle. Make sure you have the right adapter with you before you leave to avoid negative surprises.
Due to the highly flammable and explosive properties of LPG, certain precautions must be taken when installing LPG tanks safety precautions which were established under the EU regulation for retrofit systems for liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas in 2003. Among other things, each tank must have a fill limiter to prevent overpressure, a flow meter limiter to prevent gas leakage, and a fusible link to relieve pressure in the event of a fire.
In the case of LPG tanks, the scooter tank and the cylinder tank most common. The wheel-mouth tank does not take up any cargo space in the trunk when installed, but it has to be recharged sooner. The cylinder tank requires more space due to its larger filling volume, but can travel further distances without stopping for fuel. Alternatively there are external tanks, which can be placed underneath the car and therefore does not require cargo space.
As a customer, you are limited in your choice of LPG tank, because depending on the location of the spare tire in the vehicle, not every LPG tank is suitable for installation. Therefore, before converting your vehicle, consult the specialist company of your choice.
LPG price: refueling and conversion costs
It is not for nothing that an LPG car is considered a cheaper alternative to conventional gasoline engines: although LPG prices follow the trends of gasoline prices, they are basically only about half as high, fluctuating between 0.54 and 0.80 euros per liter. This has to do, among other things, with the ongoing tax breaks.
LPG tax autogas enjoys tax advantages in the sense of autogas promotion as an environmentally friendly fuel. The tax concession is valid until the end of 2022, but will be gradually reduced until then.
However, LPG prices that are half as high do not necessarily mean that the cost of driving with autogas is automatically halved, because: the calorific value of LPG is lower than that of gasoline, which is why the consumption of an LPG car is between 10 and 30 percent higher, depending on the gas system, gas composition and driving style.
In the cost calculation you should also include the cost of the LPG conversion, which depending on the size and variant of the tank between 1.500 and 3.500 euros lie. In addition, there are regular maintenance and inspection costs for the gas system, which vary between 100 and 150 euros.
so even though there are some costs involved, they will pay for themselves relatively quickly if you are a frequent driver and will be driving the car for some time after the conversion.
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Advantages and disadvantages of LPG as autogas
Now that you have learned more about the LPG meaning and function when driving with adapters and tanks, you will get a summary of the most important LPG advantages and disadvantages. So you can get a better picture and decide whether an LPG car is for you or not. If you would like to read about another environmentally friendly alternative, you are welcome to do so in our article about electric cars.
- More environmentally friendly variant with lower CO2 emissions
- Cost savings on refueling
- Already available at many service stations
- Tax incentive until the end of 2022
- Higher fuel consumption
- Range depends on the tank installed
- Size of the gas tank influences maximum loading quantity
- costs for the conversion and only possible with gasoline engines
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You are unsure? Our energy experts will be happy to help you and find the right liquid gas offer for you. just use the free selectra online service for this purpose. The energiemarie by selectra service is available for you from monday to friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Angela writes for energiemarie since may 2020. with her master in creative marketing and visual communication she writes new articles about energy and updates existing content.