In the alternative energy vehicle category, the choices run the gamut from battery-powered and solar, to diesel, wind-driven and everything in between. Though often overlooked, propane-powered vehicles also make the exhaustive list of alt-energy vehicles. Propane-powered vehicles are often referred to by other names including liquefied petroleum gas, LPG, LP gas or LNG vehicles. Regardless of name, LPG is typically touted as a low-carbon, low-polluting fuel that offers the benefit of reduced emissions compared to gasoline. Despite the benefits, LPG has yet to make waves in the automotive industry.
Argonne National Laboratory recently conducted an extensive study to determine the usefulness of LPG as an alternative fuel and discovered that LP gas is practical, easily obtainable and could prove to be less costly than conventional fuels. Argonne concludes:
As the study predicts, we can expect propane to quickly gain popularity in the commercial fleet market, but the lack of a nationwide infrastructure may keep propane-powered vehicles out of the public's grasp for some time. Click here (PDF) to read the entire Argonne report.Enough propane to fuel targeted fleet vehicles appears to be available, with expansion opportunities apparent in the school bus, taxicab, police, and paratransit markets. It is possible to secure long-term contracts for propane at a lower price than conventional fuels, infrastructure is relatively inexpensive to build, new vehicle products are coming online, and an extensive network of 25,000 propane fuel distributors already exists; these facts underscore the very favorable opportunities in place to expand the use of propane in transportation.
[Source: Argonne National Laboratory | Image: David A. Villa – C.C. License 2.0]