COVER STORY

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Inside -

LPG isn’t just for cab driv­ers and grey no­mads. Cheaper and cleaner than petrol, it’s also pow­er­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of de­sir­able cars

LPG, or Au­to­gas (the generic name) is usu­ally a mix­ture of propane and bu­tane. Do­mes­tic gas is propane only but, con­fus­ingly, some re­gions and re­mote ar­eas re­ceive propane-only LPG via tanker for both au­to­mo­tive and do­mes­tic use.

LPG is found along with nat­u­ral gas and con­den­sate in off­shore wells – West­ern Aus­tralia has the great­est known re­serves – and is also a byprod­uct of oil re­fin­ing.

There is no set pro­por­tion of propane to bu­tane and the mix de­pends on how and where the gas is re­cov­ered.

The en­vi­ron­ment.gov.au web­site notes: ‘‘The en­vi­ron­men­tal gains from plac­ing con­straints on the amount of propane or bu­tane in a mix (i.e., 50 per cent bu­tane and 50 per cent propane mix) are not sig­nif­i­cant enough to limit the au­to­gas mar­ket to a set com­po­si­tion.’’

Un­like liq­uid nat­u­ral gas (meth­ane), LPG needs lit­tle pres­sure to con­vert from a gas to a liq­uid and doesn’t have to be re­frig­er­ated to re­main in that state.

LPG’s en­ergy con­tent (the amount of en­ergy re­leased dur­ing com­bus­tion) is about 25 per cent lower than petrol, re­leas­ing be­tween 25.7 and 34.2 mega­joules a litre.

Fuel con­sump­tion in­creases by about the same per­cent­age.

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