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Save On Fuel Expenses - Make The Switch To LPG
Autogas, (GPL, LPG or Liquefied Petroleum Gas) is a mixture of propane (60%) and butane (40%). It is produced by the refining process of crude oil or it is extracted naturally.
It is stored and transported in liquid form (usually under 4-12 bar pressure). It is heavier than air and in the event of a leak indoors it is trapped, in contrast with the lighter gas that manages to escape.
Natural gas (CNG or Compressed Natural Gas) has been used in the automobile sector since the decades of 1920-30. It consists of 98% methane, but its storage requires high pressure (up to 200 bar). As far as the LPG is concerned, its spread started before the Second World War and now the growing popularity of LPG makes it the most important alternative fuel for automobiles. Typical examples of countries using LPG for vehicles are: Italy (circulating about 1 million LPG-powered vehicles), Austria (400 buses only in Vienna), Australia (500,000), Great Britain (40,000), Japan (90% of taxi vehicles run on LPG), etc.
As the price of unleaded petrol is rocketing, many are those oriented at gas-power. In Greece, as always, there has been a serious delay in discovering the benefits of LPG, while several other European countries have been using this alternative fuel for decades.
Nowadays, gas power in Greece is perfectly legal and safe (according to relevant legislation in 1999, under Law No 2773/99 and Ministerial Decision No 18586/698 03.29.2000), providing that all the necessary installation regulations and standards are met, as well as the corresponding certifications.
For example, the technician or the company that will undertake the conversion of your vehicle should submit an affidavit to the MOT test centre along with other certifications. Later on, and following the technical inspection, the Ministry of Transport (Vehicle Technology Directorate) is updated and from that point, on your vehicle registration certificate it is clearly stated that your vehicle "has an LPG device."
LPG or petrol powered vehicle?
Both the factory-built LPG models and the retrofitted (converted) models can run on either petrol or LPG. The driver can choose the type of fuel through a switch which is usually integrated within the LPG tank indicator. The engine is set to cold start and for a few minutes it runs on petrol (approximately until the temperature reaches 40°C). Then, it switches automatically to LPG.
What about maintenance and refueling?
Due to its low molecular weight, LPG does not leave residues and accumulated deposits on the sparking plug. It is advisable to change the filter every 15,000-20,000 km (it costs about EUR 40) and also the overall control system every 100,000 km.