The environmental case for LPG/autogas as a transport fuel is now well proven and documented. Autogas consistently produces on average a 10% improvement over petrol on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on tailpipe putting autogas way up the list for environmental credentials compared to other alternatives such as bio-diesels and electric hybrids.
Government and European Commission targets for the reduction of CO2 for road transport are ambitious and vehicle manufacturers are failing to meet the targets set.
A study quoted approximately 30 million cars on our roads that produce their own weight in CO2 every 6,000 miles. The average UK mileage is considered to be 9,000 miles per annum of which the vast majority is fuelled by petrol producing a staggering 3.47 tonnes of CO2 per vehicle a year.
24 million cars running on petrol produce over
83 millions tonnes of carbon dioxide a year in the UK.
The uptake of diesel as a road fuel has demonstrated high levels of PM10 and other noxious tailpipe emissions causing additional concerns over local urban air quality with marked increases in asthmatic and other respiratory diseases. Autogas demonstrates even greater environmental advantages on air quality over diesel that have also been exhaustively reported in other more technical documents.
If autogas was used on 1% of vehicles in the UK, we could save almost 210,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum. Evidently a larger uptake of autogas could have dramatic effects on current and predicted levels of carbon dioxide in the UK. With continuing support from Government on current fuel duty commitments and consideration of additional tax breaks for the 'carbon conscious' motorist, we can make a difference.
Autogas is the term generally used for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), when it is used for the propulsion of road vehicles. It is obtained as a by-product of the distillation of oil from crude oil and from "wet" North Sea gas. It is produced in large quantities; a surplus of approximately 4 million tonnes per annum is currently available from the North Sea. This surplus is forecast to increase over the next 20 years. When it is pressurised it becomes a liquid and it is in this form that it is pumped into your tank. Compared to petrol, Autogas has a higher-octane content (according to the RON method).
Italy and Holland leads the field with other countries fast joining to include Turkey and Poland. By far the biggest consumer of Autogas however is Japan, which uses over 1,8000,00 tonnes a year. This is hardly surprising given the countries population density and the pollution problems of its major cities such as Tokyo and Yokohama. Over 90% of all taxis in Japan are powered by Autogas.
Autogas has an excellent safety record throughout the world, both in terms of its storage, transportation and use. Extensive safety tests have been undertaken with respect to its use and the conclusions reached are that it is substantially safer than petrol due to its more robust fuel tank being more resistant to impact damage.
Environmental issues are becoming more and more evident in our daily lives. In the mid 90's the then Chancellor made changes to the rates of excise duty on motor fuels to make Autogas even more attractive to road users. He specifically mentioned the environmental advantages of Autogas and successive Chancellors have continued this fiscal policy as a means of addressing the environmental problems we all face. Resulting from this we have witnessed the tremendous investment by major fuel companies necessary to install efficient Autogas dispensers in their fuel sites. There are currently over 1,300 public refuelling sites in the UK many of which are on major routes and at super market stations. This commitment undoubtedly underlines the acceptance of Autogas as the most viable alternative fuel available today.