Is an LPG conversion worth doing and what does it mean?

With the recent conversations around climate preservation and choosing more sustainable, inexpensive fuels, there has been a lot of discussion about alternative fuels for mobility. While EVs and hybrids are gaining popularity in the UK, a less talked about fuel – LPG may be another option to consider.

What is LPG fuel?

LPG is short for Liquified Petroleum Gas. LPG is a by-product of processing natural gas and it is sometimes referred to as propane, butane or autogas. It is an inexpensive low-carbon fuel.

Many petrol cars can now be fitted and installed with an LPG kit, thus having the capability of running on either petrol or LPG fuel (or a bi-fuel system). The biggest advantage to LPG-run cars is the relatively inexpensive cost associated with it when compared to petrol. At a given time, you can expect the price of LPG to be roughly half the price of petrol per litre.

What are the advantages of LPG fuel?

Cheaper fuel: One of the biggest advantages of converting to LPG fuel, is the price per litre, especially considering the rising cost of petrol in the UK. Compared to petrol’s £1.77 price per litre, the average cost to run a converted LPG car is around £0.85 – £0.89 per litre. Despite global supply chain issues following the invasion of Ukraine LPG remains much cheaper.

Higher range: With an LPG conversion you gain an extra tank of fuel. While you may need to sacrifice boot space for this, the advantage is that you can increase your vehicle’s range and can hypothetically reduce the number of trips you take to the petrol station (if you fill up both tanks that is, which is primarily useful on long road trips).

Cleaner fuel: Overall, it is also a cleaner burning fuel, which means much less wear and tear to the engine (it could even help in making the components last longer) and less CO2 emissions.

What are the disadvantages of LPG fuel?

Cost of installation: If you’re considering getting your petrol car fitted with an LPG conversion kit, then the biggest disadvantage is the initial cost of installation.

Less boot space: Usually, an LPG tank will be fitted in the boot of your car, which would mean you will need to sacrifice some luggage space. This could be especially disadvantageous on longer trips where you will need all the boot space you have.

Fuelling stations: There are far fewer fuel stations offering LPG so it can be challenging to always find one. However, there are still around 1400 refuelling stations and you can find a handy tool to find the nearest LPG filling stations here.

Resale value: Since LPG vehicles are not as popular, they can also be harder (but not impossible) to sell on.

Pictured above: refuelling an LPG-powered vehicle

How much does it cost to do an LPG conversion and is it worth it?

The cost to do an LPG conversion for your vehicle is in the range of £1000-£2500 with an average cost of £1200. The cost of converting diesel to LPG is often higher than petrol to LPG.

Be sure to get it installed only by an approved UKLPG Approved Autogas centre. It can take about 3-6 hours to get it fitted.

Check with your insurer first to see if converting your car will affect your current policy. Many insurers may not cover LPG cars, while others will but may charge a fee. Also, contact DVLA if you decide to do the change as it may result in a reduction of road tax fees.

To understand whether an LPG conversion is worth it for you, you’ll need to calculate how much you’d be driving after the conversion to recover the cost of installation. Anything, after you recover the cost, is pure saving!

If you drive around 20,000 miles per year and your car can achieve 35 MPG, then you can save around £1150 per year compared to petrol. Actual savings will, of course, vary based on the conditions of the car, the journey, and the driving style of the driver.

Is LPG being phased out?

With the increasing popularity of other low-carbon alternatives, LPG stations are being replaced with EV charging stations instead. The UK 2030 ban on the manufacture and sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will indirectly contribute to a reduction in the number of fuel stations over time.