LPG Not Just for Tree-hugging, Penny Pinching, Slow Driving, Woolly Jumper Wearing Motorists

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson

According to Italy’s DueMotori, converting cars to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is not only “for tree-hugging, penny pinching, slow driving, woolly jumper wearing motorists with a guilty conscience.” Drivers fortunate enough to be left off that list are advised to consider an LPG conversion package from the UK’s Future Power, which is “ideal for high performance cars and luxury vehicles.” On September 22nd, Future Power will be showing a 300hp LPG-powered Subaru WRX on “ Rally Day” at the Castle Combe circuit in Wiltshire. Future Power’s managing director Malcolm Douglas is gassed about LPG’s potential. “It is now quite possible for the executive and the enthusiast to have their sporty car and also combat critics by running on LPG, making their cars much more environmentally friendly than many alternative petrol or diesel ‘city’ cars." Proof positive, if proof were needed, that the greens have pistonheads on the defensive.

Glenn Swanson
Glenn Swanson

Glenn is a baby-boomer, born in 1954. Along with his wife, he makes his home in Connecticut. Employed in the public sector as an Information Tedchnology Specialist, Glenn has long been a car fan. Past rides have included heavy iron such as a 1967 GTO, to a V8 T-Bird. In between those high-horsepower cars, he's owned a pair of BMW 320i's. Now, with a daily commute of 40 miles, his concession to MPG dictates the ownership of a 2006 Honda Civic coupe which, while fun to drive, is a modest car for a pistonhead. As an avid reader, Glenn enjoys TTAC, along with many other auto-realated sites, and the occasional good book. As an avid electronic junkie, Glenn holds an Advanced Class amateur ("ham") radio license, and is into many things electronic. From a satellite radio and portable GPS unit in the cars, to a modest home theater system and radio-intercom in his home, if it's run by the movement of electrons, he's interested. :-)

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  • Dean Dean on Sep 12, 2007

    LPG is a lot cleaner than diesel or gasoline, but it isn't less CO that makes it popular indoors. Trust me, an LPG forklift puts out more than enough CO to accumulate and kill you if the space is not properly ventilated. (I've stood 3' behind one with a gas meter and measured the ppm - it was well over 50x the alarm threshold.)

  • GS650G GS650G on Sep 12, 2007

    Taxis in Korea and other Asian countries use propane. The cars are converted. Top speed was limited but it was more economical, not to mention the cars ran hundreds of miles on one fillup. The tank was located in the trunk between the tires. I've seen ford F-150 trucks converted to run on propane with success, the 351 CI engine is favorite candidate.

  • Wolf Wolf on Sep 12, 2007

    I currently own a LPG Vehicle, a 1992 Citroën ZX, fitted with a 1.4 Liter 75hp dual carburettor engine. it has a fuel economy of 30mpg in gasoline mode, and 24mpg on LPG. on the performance side, I do lose lottsa torque in LPG mode. the 15yo car can still get to 100+mph in both modes. performance loss is mainly due to the type of LPG equipment (carb'). Engines which are more recent show less difference in fuel economy and performance. on the money-ish side of things, Gasoline is 8$ a gallon, LPG half of that.

  • Brettc Brettc on Sep 13, 2007

    I worked at a furniture store in Southern Ontario about 9 years ago, and they used a 1989 Dodge RAM van that ran on propane. Drove as well as it could since it was a giant Dodge cargo van. Filling it up was interesting since no one trained me how to fill it, but I figured it out. I don't know what the economy was like, but I think the range was about 300 kms or so on a fill. On a related note, my dad had a 1987 Chevy Celebrity that he converted to Natural Gas in 1987. There were both provincial and federal rebates involved, so he didn't end up paying much for it in the end. But the car never ran right on CNG. I don't know if it was because of a botched installation, or the fact that it was an '87 Chevy Celebrity. It was a dual fuel conversion, so it could be switched to gasoline if needed. It ran much better on gasoline! I assume if a manufacturer actually designed an engine to run on CNG from the start, it might be a little more reliable.