What is Propane Auto Gas?
Propane is a gas at average temperatures and pressures but is stored under moderate pressure (150-200 psi), where it becomes a liquid. It is a clean-burning fuel, has a high energy density, and is readily available in the U.S.. It is the 3rd most used vehicle fuel behind gasoline and diesel on the planet. (It is pretty commonplace to find light-duty propane vehicles running around European countries and Asia.) LPG, LP-Gas, and Autogas are all different names for propane used as a fuel. LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas.
How is Propane Produced?
Propane is produced from liquid components recovered during natural gas processing. These components include ethane, methane, propane, butane, and heavier hydrocarbons. Propane and butane, along with other gases, are also produced during crude oil refining. Approximately 85% of the propane used in the U.S. is made in the U.S.
How is Propane Used?
Light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles can be powered by propane. Most propane vehicles used in the U.S. today are either bi-fuel or dedicated propane, and most are converted to bi-fuel propane using conversion kits like those that ICOM North America and Alliance Auto Gas offer. Applications include cars, pickup trucks, forklifts, transit and school buses, trucks, trolleys, and delivery or passenger vans. Propane is also frequently used to replace gasoline in smaller applications, such as commercial lawn equipment like zero-turn and walk-behind landscaping mowers, and is growing in use as a golf/turf applications like for mowing golf courses (these are reel-type mowers).
What are the benefits of Propane?
According to a study by the National Propane Gas Association, the Propane Green Autogas Solutions Act (“Propane GAS Act”) 2011 offers significant economic growth and environmental and energy security benefits to the American economy. The study projects that the Propane Gas Act’s impact on jobs and the economy will be significant. The growth in propane vehicle sales and use created by the tax credits will generate an increase in economic activity that peaks at between $4 billion and $5.7 billion per year in 2016. That translates to between 30,000 and 42,000 new jobs created by 2016.
Propane is an inherently clean-burning fuel due to its lower carbon content. When used as a vehicle fuel, propane can offer life cycle greenhouse (GHG) emissions benefits over conventional fuels, depending on vehicle type and drive cycle. In addition, using propane in place of petroleum-based fuels may reduce some tailpipe emissions.
Because propane is a low-carbon fuel, a switch to propane in these applications can result in substantial reductions of hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, and greenhouse gas emissions.
What are the Emissions Reductions gained from Propane?
Propane is non-toxic and presents no threat to soil, surface water, or groundwater. Propane has several benefits over gasoline, including:
- Potentially lower toxic, carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and nonmethane hydrocarbon (NMHC) emissions
- Over the fuel’s life-cycle, propane shows greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions of 10%, and when derived as a by-product of natural gas production (as it is over 90% of the time), propane reduced petroleum use by 98% to 99%