From 2006 to 2015, the trend seemed to be on the rise, but has slowed down again in 2020. Whether this is due to the increase in electric vehicles? Or do owners shy away from the supposedly high costs?? Our guide provides information!

Table of contents

  1. What is LPG?
  2. Differences between autogas and natural gas
  3. Advantages and disadvantages of LPG
  4. Conversion to autogas
  5. outlook: availability and environmental protection

The most important summarized

LPG is a liquid gas that is produced as a by-product in refineries for petroleum extraction. This byproduct can be called fuel can be used for cars with conventional combustion engines, when converting.

Some new cars from manufacturers such as renault and fiat are already being built to function immediately as LPG cars.

The main advantages of LPG are lower CO2 emissions, lower fuel costs and a quieter engine.

The lowered LPG tax, which is to apply until 2022, can also score points with many car owners. But be careful: LPG is not to be confused with natural gas.

What is LPG?

LPG is the abbreviation for "liquified petroleum gas". It already contains the explanation: it is a gas that becomes liquid under certain circumstances. The chemical composition is similar to gasoline, which is why LPG can be used as an alternative drive in cars.

Good to know: the alternative energy for your car is odorless. So that you can smell a possible leak in the gas system, LPG is mixed with an odorant.

Differences between autogas and natural gas

LPG autogas is often confused with natural gas. The biggest difference between LPG and CNG is the form: LPG is a liquid, while natural gas is actually a gas. The abbreviation for natural gas is CNG ("compressed natural gas").

Natural gas cars usually require a much heavier and larger tank in the car. Nevertheless, both powertrains are considered environmentally friendly . The carbon dioxide emission is lower for both variants than for a car with a classic combustion engine. But CNG is slightly ahead. Natural gas is non-toxic, produces almost only water vapor during operation and emits less CO2 than autogas.

You can have your gasoline engine converted for both natural gas and autogas. Most engines can even be converted to use natural gas. For this, a special exhaust gas test must be carried out beforehand and the engine supply lines and valves must be adapted. But the conversion to LPG is subject to certain conditions. For this the conversion to natural gas with an average of 3.000 to 4.500 euros more expensive than conversion to autogas, which is already possible from 1.100 euro is possible.

However, the availability of filling stations looks better with an LPG car: in 2019, there were approx. 6.600 autogas filling stations across germany, but only around 900 natural gas dispensers.

In 2020, autogas drivers will already be able to enjoy more than 7.000 autogas filling stations look forward. The number of natural gas filling stations has fallen: since 2016, it has been steadily decreasing; by 2020, there will only be around 850 in germany.

A direct comparison of the most important properties of LPG and CNG. © allianz direct

Are gas vehicles dangerous?

You can rest assured: gas vehicles are safe because of their safety devices just as safe as cars with "normal" fuel powered by gasoline or diesel. The tank of the autogas vehicle is under pressure, but there are special safety pressure relief valves. If, for example, a fire causes a lot of heat, the gas filling is burned off in a controlled manner. This reduces the risk of explosion in the event of an accident.

Advantages and disadvantages of LPG

The LPG advantages and disadvantages will help you with a purchase or conversion decision. We show how fuel costs, range and CO2 footprint compare.

  • Low fuel costs due to low LPG tax
  • Around 400 to 500 km range depending on the vehicle
  • Good availability of gas stations in germany
  • Quiet engine noise
  • Low air pollution due to reduced exhaust emissions
  • High purchase costs for new cars
  • Conversion may not be possible
  • Conversion requires space in the trunk
  • environmental balance slightly worse than z.B. For natural gas cars


The most convincing advantages are the low fuel costs because of the lower LPG tax. It is still valid until 2022 (as of 2020), but will be increased by about three cents per year. Compared to a gasoline or diesel tank, you still save on fuel costs.

The autogas range is about 400 kilometers depending on vehicle model and tank size. This is more than many electric vehicles and speaks more in favor of the gas car with LPG.

Already knew?

The fiat panda is said to be the current front runner and can do up to 500 kilometers and more.

Even if your LPG car does not reach this mileage – the network of filling stations is quite well developed. New gas stations are added every year, so you should not run out of gas for your vehicle. Also european-wide there are corresponding petrol pumps.

Other advantages are that Quiet engine noise, which makes driving fun without noise. The CO2 values are lower than with the classic combustion engine. The air pollution is also lower.


Of course you have to reckon with some disadvantages – like any car the price of a gas car as a new car is low. However, the low price of autogas can quickly compensate for the costs. Besides, you can also convert some gasoline engines and you do not have to buy a new car. However, you will have less space in the trunk of your car, because the gas system will be installed there.

Important: it can not every car can be converted to an LPG car. If the valves of your car engine are too soft, it could lead to an engine failure. That’s why you should seek professional advice if you are planning to convert your vehicle.

When it comes to the environmental question, autogas is better than gasoline and diesel, but it is outranked by other alternative fuels. Exhaust emissions, for example, are higher compared to a natural gas vehicle.

Conversion to autogas

autogas conversion is the alternative to buying a new car. Few new cars are already equipped for LPG. Therefore, a conversion may also be for you in question. The LPG conversion can pay off, because the LPG tax is lower than the tax on gasoline. If you are a frequent driver, a conversion can be worthwhile for you for this reason alone. You also do something good for the environment if you have a gas system installed instead of an internal combustion engine.

Important: conversion only to be carried out by specialist companies

The autogas conversion you should in any case only be carried out at a qualified specialist workshop. also the mandatory GSP test after the conversion of the gas system is done here.

Attention: you are considering autogas conversion outside germany? We do not recommend it. Because with supposedly inexpensive LPG conversions abroad, there is a risk that the regulations that apply in germany are not adhered to. You could be unlucky and lose your car fails the main inspection by TuV or DEKRA. Also, you have no contact person nearby if you have problems with the gas car after the conversion.

Costs for LPG conversion

the cost of retrofitting your car, depending on the effort involved and the model, is between 1.100 and 3.500 euro. Therefore, you should calculate whether an autogas conversion is (still) worthwhile for your car. Sometimes it makes more sense to buy a new car.

important: think also about the costs of the regular GAP-check. It costs between 22 and 28 euros. For some cars, the inspection will cost more after the autogas conversion. Therefore, it is better to find out beforehand from a professional what you have to expect.

Guidelines for retrofitting – and afterwards

After conversion to autogas, a GSP test are made. This is possible with external experts and recognized workshops. The GSP test is the gas system installation test, which – as the name suggests – must be carried out directly after the LPG conversion. Depending on the approval of the system, an individual certificate must also be issued. The individual certificate shows how the converted car has been changed by the gas installation. For example, it documents a change in exhaust gas behavior.

Another guideline for cars with a gas system is the GAP test.

  • Accident
  • Fire
  • Other impairments of the vehicle
  • Repair of the gas system

The GAP test must be carried out at every main inspection if it has not already been done in the twelve months prior to that. If you do not comply, you will face similar warnings and fines as if you had failed the main inspection. The GAP test may be carried out by any inspector/expert or test engineer in the motor vehicle sector and also in recognized motor vehicle workshops.

outlook: availability and environmental protection

Currently around 371.000 registered vehicles with LPG on the road in germany. Will the trend increase again – as it did a few years ago?? If you take a look at the infrastructure of LPG stations, that is probably. The network is already up and running with around 7.100 filling stations [as of 2020] well developed, the trend is increasing.

You can find the nearest LPG station on the internet, for example, at the german association for liquefied petroleum gas. Statistically, by 2020, every second gas station will be able to offer liquefied petroleum gas for refueling. With an exclusive LPG filling station, you will sometimes not even encounter filling station operators. You simply pay for your fuel with an appropriate debit or credit card.

And what about filling station for LPG abroad from? At least in the german neighboring countries belgium, poland and the netherlands you can be glad about a quite dense network of autogas filling stations. Even in france, england and italy, it often doesn’t take long to find an LPG filling station nearby. The situation is somewhat worse in Austria, Switzerland and Denmark [as of 2020]. If you want to fill up with autogas in the netherlands, france or italy, you should know that you might be you need an adapter. The adapter can be borrowed from some gas stations for the refueling process. Depending on the country, different adapters are common.

LPG and environmental protection

LPG is more environmentally friendly than gasoline because it emits less CO2. It will ten percent less CO2 emitted by LPG than by gasoline. This is due to the fact that liquefied petroleum gas is burned in a CO2-reduced manner in cars. The situation is different for natural gas, where CO2 emissions are around 12 percent higher. Nevertheless, LPG is considered environmentally friendly because pollutants such as hydrocarbons are reduced and less sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are released.

trend of LPG vehicles: models and possibilities

New cars with LPG are less common compared to new cars with hybrid drive and pure electric motor. Only few manufacturers set from the beginning on the alternative drive for the internal combustion engine. Currently there are LPG models of fiat (panda, 500) and renault (captur, clio). The dacia duster, dacia sandero and dacia dokker are also available as new cars with LPG [as of 2020]. If you want to drive another model with autogas, the LPG conversion is more interesting for you.

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