Propane also known as liquefied petroleum gas or LPG is a clean burning alternative to diesel. It is non-toxic, colorless and virtually odorless produced from liquid components that are recovered during natural gas processing. Propane becomes a liquid under moderate pressure (150-200 PSI) and is stored and dispensed in its liquid state. When the pressure is released the liquid propane vaporizes into gas that is used in combustion. Propane is the third most commonly used fuel in the world behind gasoline and diesel and is the dominant alternative motor fuel in more than 38 countries. Approximately 85% of the propane used in the U.S. is produced domestically.
Propane can be used in light and heavy-duty vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are currently over 200,000 vehicles running on propane in the US and about 9 million in use around the world. Most propane vehicles are currently duel-fuel, large trucks and vans, though after-manufacture conversions for many vehicles are possible and original equipment manufactures are beginning to offer more factory ready models. Applications include cars, pickup trucks, forklifts, transit and school buses, delivery trucks, trolleys and vans. Propane can also be used for home and water heating, cooking and refrigerating food, clothes drying, and powering farm and industrial equipment.
Propane costs much less than that of traditional gasoline per gallon. There is also less maintenance involved with Propane vehicles reducing associated costs.
If spilled or released from a vehicle this fuel does not present any threat to soil, surface water, or groundwater
Nearly 2% of the U.S.’s fuel consumption is propane. This has helped to power transportation fleets in the US, ultimately diversifying fuel and driving options.
Propane vehicles can cost thousands more to purchase however, the cost of fuel itself is much lower than that of gasoline so the return on investment can be faster. Propane also has a lower fuel economy than gasoline, however the costs are offset by the higher price of gasoline.
The Department of Energy (DOE) offers an in depth analysis of propane.