LPG autogas – a practical and affordable solution to the UK’s air quality crisis

Posted on: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 by Holly Birditt

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Air pollution is responsible for the deaths of an estimated 29,000 people each year in the UK, with the majority of harmful emissions stemming from road transport. To tackle this growing problem, in December 2015, the Government published its new air quality plan, placing an obligation on Local Authorities to reduce vehicle emissions in line with European targets by 2020. Meeting these targets at a time of fiscal constraint has sparked a renewed interest in automotive LPG, which at around half the price at the pump of petrol and diesel, has long appealed to the cost-conscious vehicle operator. However, LPG is also cleaner than petrol and diesel, delivering significantly lower harmful emissions including nitrogen dioxide and particulates, as well as carbon savings. In fact compared with diesel, vehicles running on LPG emit around 80% less nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – a major contributor to health issues such as lung disease and respiratory infection – and around 98% fewer particulates (PM) which are linked with asthma, lung cancer, and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

The supply infrastructure for LPG autogas is already in place, with over 1,400 public refuelling sites across the UK. Engine conversions are widely available across all vehicle types via a network of approved convertors. LPG car conversions typically cost around £1,500 for a 4-cylinder petrol engine. Opportunities also exist within the OEM passenger car market – currently 17 different car manufacturers offer LPG autogas models across Europe, costing as little as £500 above the price of a petrol equivalent.