Propane has been powering vehicles for over a century. Today there are over 270,000 propane vehicles in the United States and more than 15 million propane vehicles worldwide. Propane’s high octane rating makes it ideal for vehicles operating with spark-ignited engines (like traditional gasoline vehicles). There are two types of fuel injection systems available - vapor injection and liquid propane injection – both of which store propane as a liquid in a relatively low-pressure tank. When compared with traditional gasoline and diesel fueled vehicles, propane vehicles have
similar driving performance.
Types of Propane Vehicles:
Dedicated: These vehicles run solely on propane
Bi-Fuel: These vehicles have two separate fueling systems that enable them to run on either propane or gasoline
Propane vehicles can be bought from original equipment manufacturers (OEM), or qualified system retrofitters can covert many light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles to run on propane.
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Propane Vehicles
Conversions of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vehicles to operate on propane, natural gas, methane gas, ethanol, or electricity are classified as aftermarket alternative fuel vehicle conversions. In the United States, all vehicle conversions (except pure battery electric vehicles) must meet current applicable U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. EPA instituted these standards to assure unimpaired emission control of motor vehicles throughout their useful life. Vehicles operating in California must follow conversion rules issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The cost to convert a light-duty vehicle from gasoline to propane use ranges from $4,000 to $12,000. The upfront costs to convert fleet vehicles to propane can be offset by lower operating and maintenance costs over the lifespan of the vehicles. Propane Conversions
Propane Fueling Stations
Lower maintenance costs make propane a popular choice. Propane's high octane rating (104 to 112 compared with 87 to 92 for gasoline) and low carbon and oil contamination characteristics result in less corrosion and engine wear. This resulted in greater engine life than conventional gasoline engines. Additionally, the fuel's mixture (propane and air) is completely gaseous, eliminating cold start problems associated with liquid fuels. However, continue servicing your vehicle at the recommend conventional maintenance intervals is advisable.
Propane vehicles meet the same safety standards as gasoline vehicles. They must pass rigorous crash testing, the fuel has a narrow flammability range, and the tanks are 20 times more puncture resistant than gasoline tanks. However, to insure the integrity of the fueling system, a properly trained professional is needed to install and repair equipment safely and in compliance with recognized standards National Fire Protection Association's Vehicular Fuel Systems Code (NFPA 58) or equivalent. These standards are in place for your health and safety, and the health and the safety of the public. Pressure in fuel tanks and other propane autogas system components may exceed 300 psi.