About LPG technicalities & legislation

What is LPG?

Liquefied Petroleum Gas, often called Autogas when used to as a vehicle fuel, is made up of propane and butane. It is a by-product of oil extraction and refining operations, particularly when using North Sea 'wet' crude. Consequently, the UK has an abundant supply. Currently the UK exports LPG and imports petrol.

Where does it come from?

40% of LPG comes from the refining of crude oil and 60% straight from field production. At atmospheric pressure it is a vapour, under modest pressure it becomes liquid.

How does an LPG conversion work?

The conversion adds a second independent fuel system, making the car bi-fuel or capable of running on either petrol or LPG. This requires a second tank, usually installed in the spare wheel well.

Can I convert my diesel to use LPG?

At this point in time the combination of diesel and LPG usually result in increases of power output (rather than extra efficiency), it could also lead lead to mechanical problems. We therefore do not convert diesel run vehicles. We are aware of companies that are developing such systems. If in future, a system becomes available that combines capability, reliability and ecology. Then LPG-Cars will carry out our own stringent checks before changing our advice to customers.

Can LPG damage my engine?

No. In fact, LPG is a cleaner burning fuel engine, so life is extended and less maintenance is required. The one exception is engines using leaded petrol. These are not suitable and LPG may damage the engine. Remember LPG burns cleaner than petrol. This means less emissions out of the exhaust and less carbon deposits in the engine. These deposits are very abrasive and can contribute to engine breakdowns. The oil and spark plugs will also last longer. For more details see benefits of LPG.

Is LPG safe?

Crash and fire tests have proved that the strength and integrity of tanks fitted to LPGA safety guidelines (CoP11) make the LPG fuel system safer than petrol. Indeed if you were to try and make a direct comparison then you would be surprised by the thick walls and weight. Remember that there are now over eight million LPG vehicles around the world and some highly prominent people own them. For example the President of the United States limousine and the Queen's Rolls Royce. In conclusion, although there is no statistical evidence from accidents, LPG-Cars believe that in an accident LPG will be more durable than petrol.

Will converting affect the performance?

Modern LPG conversions experience no noticeable loss of performance with an intelligent liquid injection system (which we provide), owners have reported increased drivability. Additionally, engines will run smoother and will be significantly quieter especially for anyone used to driving on diesel. For more details click here.

Does it matter what system I put on my car?

Absolutely it does, this is the most important decision you will make and will either provide you miles of trouble free motoring or plague you with niggling faults which need constant attention. We suggest you consider two grounds for your decision:

    What system to install

    The right system for your car is dependent on many different factors. We at LPG-Cars have done our homework and can guide you through the complexities.

    Who will install it

    It is crucial to have it fitted by a mechanic trained to LPGA standards and authorised by the manufacturer.

What is a certificate of conformity and why do I need one?

Section 7 Para 7.2 of the COP 11 : 2001 states "that a competent person responsible for ensuring compliance with the Code of Practice and relevant Statutory Regulations should, upon satisfactory completion of all tuning and tests, issue a signed certificate of conformity for the purchaser". This will be required by most of the leading vehicle insurance companies who will need to be informed, along with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (Swansea) that the customer is running their vehicle on dual fuel LPG. Failure to do so may invalidate any insurance policy. If you are not sure on what to do or do not have the time then LPG-Cars will actually do the leg work for you. We will submit the correct documentation to the appropriate DVLA office so that you will get the updated V5 (vehicle log book) posted direct to you.

What system do you install?

We in the main recommend a system manufactured by BRC. One of the main reasons we selected this above others is because this company manufactures all their own components to exacting quality standards and have been designed to work with each other. They have an excellent after sales service and first class technical knowledge. Although other systems may have individual components of similar quality, once these are put together we have found compatibility problems in the long term running of the engine. So LPG-Cars have chosen on the basis of highest quality system and long term reliability.

Why is there a need for an independent technical service?

With the rapid growth in the demand for LPG dual fueled vehicles, there has been a surge in the number of companies offering conversions. Sadly many of which have been less than particular about the standard of equipment used and/or have paid little attention to regulations and standards. There is a growing demand for vehicle inspections and claims in line with current statutory requirements.


About the Economics / Benefits and the Environment

How will converting my car to LPG save me money?

Autogas is half the price of diesel or petrol. This is because the Government have fixed the tax far lower in recognition of its environmental benefits. There are also benefits such as a small reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and reduced engine wear. To find out how much you could save, use our ready reckoner.

How much will the conversion cost?

This depends on the vehicle to be converted. We offer a comprehensive conversion starting at 950. We show some general prices for you to make a comparison but please ask us for a quote to find out the actual cost of converting your car.

What about the running cost?

Autogas retails at around half the price per litre of unleaded petrol and diesel. In practice this means that an Autogas vehicle is about 40-50% cheaper to run than a conventional petrol equivalent, so depending on your mileage, the payback period of the Autogas conversion (currently around £1500-£2000) could be less than a year.

Why is LPG better for the environment?

Two reasons. Firstly the simple chemical nature of the fuel ensures that it burns cleaner producing less pollution. LPG has the potential to make a huge difference to local air quality, particularly in urban areas, see table. Secondly, it is produced as a by-product of oil extraction and refining operations. The UK produces a surplus of millions of tonnes each year

Will the conversion improve the resale value of my car?

This depends entirely on the quality of the system fitted. A good quality, reliable system is akin to having a half price fuel button on the dashboard and will be a good selling point. Unreliable equipment without proper certification will lower the value of the car. We have found that the purchase price of LPG cars (with appropriate certification) are higher, but don't just take our word for it, take a look at resale values on sites such as E-Bay.

I am looking on behalf of a business, my fleet is mostly diesel powered?

This is not uncommon, so make the switch when your vehicles come up for replacement. Let us carry out a cost saving analysis now so you can see the benefits of changing your fleet to run on Autogas.

Will LPG take off?

The Government has committed itself to reducing pollution. The environmental credentials of LPG are proven. Therefore it is extremely unlikely that the duty differential between LPG and petrol and diesel will be reduced.

Our opinion is that it is here to stay for a number of years. If the environment targets are to be reached by the UK then the government will need to accelerate initiatives such as this. Recently Brian Wilson, the Energy Minister, unveiled the 100,000th LPG car in the UK, which represents an investment of over £150 million. The Oil industries have invested over £100 million in the fuelling infrastructure. Globally there are now more than eight million vehicles powered by LPG.

What is going to happen to the price of Autogas in the future?

Currently the cost starts at around 42p per litre. The Government has fully demonstrated its commitment to LPG with sweeping cuts in LPG fuel duty. Over the last 8 years, duty on petrol and diesel has been increased in the budget, whereas duty on LPG has either been frozen or reduced, thanks to it's environmental benefits. This means duty on LPG is currently 6.5 ppl, while duty on petrol is around 50ppl. And thanks to a long term Government strategy, it's expected to stay that way. In 2004, the Chancellor announced that the beneficial duty differential for LPG would only decrease by 1p per litre each year for the next 3 years.

How much cleaner is Autogas than petrol?

Carbon dioxide is widely regarded as a main contributor to the greenhouse effect, which is making our planet warmer. Autogas reduces CO2 emissions from vehicles previously powered by petrol by 33%. Autogas also emits 97% less Benzene than unleaded petrol.

How much cleaner is Autogas than diesel?

The black smoke that we see coming from diesel vehicles cause over 20,000 premature deaths a year. By replacing a diesel engine with an Autogas equivalent, emissions of particulate matter would reduce by over 90%.

Does anyone famous use LPG?

The Queen has two Rolls-Royces, a Daimler and a Rover running on Autogas, and a refuelling facility in the Royal Mews. The Duke of Edinburgh's Metrocab runs on LPG. The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the President of the USA all use LPG.

About the conversion

What system will you fit?

There are a variety of systems on the market and they range considerably in price. We only fit the most reliable system that is suited to your type of vehicle. A system that is not compatible can be a recipe for disaster. If the correct system is fitted then you should be on the right road for trouble free motoring. Use the contact us facility to find out the right system for your vehicle.

Having said this we have done extensive tests on the BRC Sequential systems and have found that the versatility and quality of these systems is superior to any other in most circumstances. So we would recommend this system as the first option in most conditions.

Will I get a warranty?

All systems fitted by LPG Cars are provided with a full parts and labour warranty. Optional breakdown warranties available.

How much space does the tank take up?

For a range of about 300 miles most tanks take up less space than a spare wheel

Where will the LPG tank be fitted?

Generally most tanks are fitted in the spare wheel well, however during inspection of your vehicle, you can discuss the possibilities of other locations with our designer during the consultation.

How long will the conversion take?

Generally 3-5 working days depending on the conversion. We can on most occasions offer you a courtesy car for the duration of your conversion subject to status and availability. Please ask for details.

Can an LPG system be removed?

The system can be taken out and put on another car but there are some important issues to consider. please contact us to discuss your particular requirements.

About us and our services

Why does LPG-Cars promote LPG?

LPG- Cars has been expanded by two enthusiasts Gurch and Karl who have dealt with cars but also have a concern about the environment. When they decided to do something about their own use and emissions they were not happy with the information or the service they received. They became passionate believers in the future of LPG and wanted to bring it to a larger audience. They believe that LPG is practical and proven, in fact it offers a win: win for everyone because it provides cleaner transport, better air quality and it saves you money.

What are your credentials?

Our biggest asset is passion and quality. In order to keep pace with the growing demand for superior quality LPG conversions we have recently opened custom built premises in Coventry equipped with the most advanced conversion systems in the market.

We believe in a long-term future for LPG/autogas in the UK and as a company, have already invested many years exclusively to the alternative fuels market. We will continue to strive for safe and reliable vehicle conversions and uphold the enviable reputation gained within the UK and throughout Europe.

Furthermore, we offer customers the highest standards of vehicle conversion and after sales care including a 24 month Breakdown Warranty on selected vehicle conversion.

What technical service do LPG-Cars offer to their customers?

Our technicians offer a discrete vehicle inspection service with full report. This may be requested by the customer with or without the knowledge of the original installer. Whilst the co-operation of the installer is usually considered helpful we appreciate that there may be occasions when an independent inspection is required.

If you have a problem with your current conversion or require any further details about our services please complete our ,e-mail enquiry form and we will endeavor to assist. Of course, your details will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Can you commission my self- fit conversion?

No sorry. Whilst self-fit conversions are possible and it is acknowledged that there are many very capable engineers and motor mechanics who have the ability to fit LPG conversions.Due to the nature of working with LPG, our paramount concern is safety (of our staff and the general public). The dangers involved if components are fitted wrongly are immense and so we can not compromise on safety. Remember we can carry out conversions in line with the Road Vehicle [Construction and Use] Regulations 1986 and the LP Gas Association Codes of Practice 11:2001 and ensure safety before issuing a certificate of conformity.

The company who installed/supplied my conversion is no longer trading. Can LPG Cars help?

Yes. As with many relatively new markets it is regrettable that installation companies may cease trading with little or no notice to customers. Due to the specialist nature of LPG conversions, knowledge of specific conversion equipment will be required to service and maintain systems and to repair them in the event of a problem arising. LPG Cars engineers have the qualification, experience and technical expertise to assist.

About running LPG in everyday use

Where can I refuel?

The industry has invested over £100 million in the infrastructure and there are now over 1,300 LPG refuelling stations in the UK. If you do run out then the car will automatically switch over to petrol. .

Will I have to have my LPG system serviced

Yes, it is crucial that your LPG system is serviced annually or every 12000 miles. We can service a variety of systems including, BRC, Prins, Stefanelli, Tartarini, Landi, Necam Koltec, OMVL, AG, Voltran, and Vauxhall and Ford factory systems. Arrangements can be made to have your LPG service carried out at the same time as your petrol service. Please ask for details.

Can I sill drive on petrol?

Yes you can, LPG adds a second fuel system leaving the original petrol system in place. The vehicle normally cold starts on petrol and then automatically converts to run on LPG when the engine is warm. Whilst very few would want to forego the lower fuel running costs of LPG, it does provide an instant back up if you inadvertently run out of LPG "What happens if I run out of gas?" Your vehicle will be fitted with an LPG gauge (which is not always accurate) so it is advisable to zero the trip odometer counter when you fill up with LPG allowing you to keep track of actual tank level. But should your vehicle run out of gas, it will automatically switch to petrol allowing you time to locate your nearest LPG supplier. Remember, the car will normally cold start on petrol and then quickly switch over when the engine is warm. It is therefore important to have some petrol in your vehicle at all times

How is the infrastructure developing?

Currently there are more than 1,400 LPG refuelling stations in the UK, and this number is constantly increasing - however depot based fleets can take advantage of LPG immediately by installing their own tank on-site. This can provide even greater savings by purchasing the fuel in bulk.

Do I have to inform my insurance company?

Yes, but major insurance companies will not increase your premiums providing that the work has been carried our correctly by an LPGA authorised fitter.

Will it affect my insurance?

You will have to notify your insurance company. The major companies will not increase your premium provided that the work has been properly carried out.

What happens if an Autogas vehicle is involved in an accident?

All LPG tanks are rigorously tested and all are considerably stronger than conventional fuel tanks. The UK has stringent safety standards for Autogas vehicles and by selecting a reputable equipment manufacturer and/or converter approved by the LPGA you are assured peace of mind.

Will I be exempt from Congestion Charging?

Contrary to what is sometimes said, not all LPG conversions qualify for CC exemption. To qualify the car has to meet Band 4 (40% improvement on Euro IV) emissions targets. Please contact us to see if your car will qualify.

What about servicing?

The LPG system should be inspected annually by a specialist LPG technician. This normally takes about half an hour and is consequently not expensive.

Will there be a reduction in my road fund licence charge?

When you have your vehicle converted to run on LPG, you must inform the DVLA. They will tell you whether you qualify for a reduction.

What about the vehicle warranty?

All OEM bi-fuel vehicles carry full manufacturer's warranty. Most retrofit conversion specialists will cover the LPG systems; however this needs to be checked and we will advise you of the warranties in our discussions.

What happens if I get a puncture?

Most conversions put the LPG tank in the spare wheel well of the car so as not to reduce boot space. If you are unlucky enough to get a puncture all conversions are supplied with fully approved tyre foam. This reflates the tyre and seals the puncture until you can get it properly repaired.

If you have any further questions that are not answered in this section then please contact us by clicking here.

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