Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Propane)

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), also known as propane or autogas, is a three-carbon alkane gas (C3H8) that is produced as a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. It is most commonly known as a heating fuel or a component in petrochemical production, but LPG is also widely consumed around the world as a transportation fuel.

LPG is stored as a liquid in a tank under much lower pressure than compressed natural gas (CNG); propane vehicle tanks are pressurized to about 150 pounds per square inch (psi)—about twice the pressure of an inflated truck tire. As pressure is released, the liquid propane vaporizes and turns into gas that is used in combustion. Propoane Vehicle

LPG is closer to gasoline in its stored energy content, making LPG tanks lighter and more compact for the energy stored than CNG. However, LPG still has a lower energy content than gasoline, so it takes more fuel to drive the same distance as a gasoline-powered vehicle.

Benefits of Using LPG in Transportation
Like CNG and LNG, propane is a domestically produced, clean-burning fuel. Compared with vehicles fueled by conventional diesel and gasoline, propane vehicles can produce lower amounts of harmful air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, depending on vehicle type, drive cycle, and engine calibration. LPG’s domestic production and ability to replace imported oil-based transportation fuels also supports U.S. energy security.

The nature of propane fuel also produces benefits for LPG vehicle owners: propane’s clean-burning characteristics lead to increased service life for LPG vehicle engines and lower maintenance costs for LPG vehicles overall.

LPG VehiclesPropane Bus
There are 143,000 on-road LPG vehicles in the United States today and approximately 4 million worldwide. Many are used in fleet applications, such as for school buses. A number of pickups, vans, school bus, and assorted utility LPG vehicle models are available from original equipment manufacturers. Propane is also frequently used to replace gasoline in smaller applications, such as for forklifts and commercial lawn equipment. A qualified system retrofitter can also reliably convert certain light-, medium-, or heavy-duty vehicles for propane operation. See the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Search to view current propane vehicle options.

LPG Refueling in New Mexico
Refueling for LPG is widespread—it is available at most LPG/propane dealers as well as recreation vehicle campsites and many retail outlets. There are 48 propane fueling stations in New Mexico. Visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fueling Station Locator to find a station near you.

Additional Information
Alternative Fuels Data Center (U.S. DOE) – Propane
Propane Education and Research Council

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