Power to Propane -- Part 2

Posted on May 13, 2008 by LCT Magazine

Why Is Propane the  #1 Alternative Fuel Worldwide?

FAQs Provided by American Alternative Fuel, LLC

American Alternative Fuel is based in Castleton, N.Y. The company specializes in (LPG) propane conversion systems for commercial and non-commercial vehicles and was chosen by Premiere Transportation Group of Albany, N.Y. to help their fleet convert to propane.

What is propane? 
Propane, also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), has been used in vehicles since the 1920s. Today there are more than 200,000 propane vehicles in the United States and about 9 million worldwide. These include cars, pickup trucks, and vans; and medium- heavy-duty vehicles such as shuttles, trolleys, delivery trucks, and school buses; and off-road vehicles such as forklifts and loaders. Propane vehicles can be equipped with dedicated fueling systems designed to use only propane, or bi-fuel fueling systems that enable fueling with either propane or gasoline.

What is the source of  propane?

About 88% of all propane used in the U.S. comes from domestic sources, so driving a propane vehicle can help reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and strengthen national energy security. 70% of the propane used in the U.S. comes from the processing of natural gas.

Why choose propane? 
Propane or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a popular alternative fuel choice for vehicles because there is already an infrastructure of pipelines, processing facilities, and storage for its efficient distribution. Besides being readily available to the general public, LPG produces fewer vehicle emissions than gasoline. Propane is produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining.

What are the benefits to using propane? 
Propane vehicles can produce fewer ozone-forming emissions than vehicles powered by reformulated gasoline. In addition, tests on light-duty, bi-fuel vehicles have demonstrated a 98% reduction in the emissions of toxics including benzene, 1,3 butadiene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde, when the vehicles were running on propane rather than gasoline.

Other benefits:

  • Propane is easily distributed and the infrastructure is cost effective.
  • Propane provides significant fuel cost savings over gasoline and diesel.
  • Propane is cleaner burning offering environmental benefits.
  • Propane is as safe as gasoline.
  • Propane fuels up just like gasoline.
  • Propane offers more mileage between oil changes.
  • Propane is 50% cleaner burning than gas.
  • Propane-converted engines last longer.

What is the fuel’s availability?

Propane is the #1 alternative fuel worldwide with more than 8-million vehicles in operation;
consuming more than 18-billion gallons annually. Propane is the most accessible of the liquid and gaseous alternative fuels. All states have publicly accessible fueling stations; approximately 3,000 are documented.

What about fueling?

The time needed to fill a vehicle with propane is comparable to that needed for gasoline or diesel fuel. The tanks are filled to no more than 80% capacity (there is an automatic shutoff on the tanks) to allow for liquid expansion as ambient temperature rises.

Why is propane safer than gas?
Like gasoline, propane is flammable, but has a much narrower range of flammability than gasoline and much higher ignition temperature 920-1020 degrees vs. 80-300 degrees for gasoline. Propane will only burn with a fuel-to-air ratio of between 2.2% and 9.6% and will rapidly dissipate beyond its flammability range in the open atmosphere-making ignition unlikely.
Propane vehicle tanks are tested to 4 times the normal operating pressures, and these tanks are 20 times more puncture-resistant than gasoline, methanol or ethanol vehicle tanks. Propane is non-toxic, unlike gasoline, diesel, methanol and ethanol. If a propane storage tank should ever leak, there would be no contamination danger to the surrounding soil or water.
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