Is an LP gas conversion worth looking into?


#1

I have heard radio ads to convert a car to lp. What mileage can I expect and is it worth it?


#2

You will get much less mileage due to the lesser energy per unit of LP as compared to regular gasoline. Add in the rather high costs of conversion and I’d say it’d be a money losing proposition. Plus, you can’t get automotive LP fuel just anywhere - you’d have to plan trips around where fueling stations are.

However, if you really want an LP-powered vehicle, Ford makes a factory produced LP Crown Victoria. Also, I think some other manufacturers might offer the option on a select few vehicles, but I think for the most part they are limited to fleet sales only.


#3

I thought Ford quit on the LP or LNG a few years ago. There may have been some after market conversions after they quit.


#4

Could be. But the LP Crown Vics are still available on used lots with some luck and a sharp eye.


#5

By all means, look into this conversion. If you are handy with ordinary tools it may even be a DIY job. At first I thought the conversion would be prohibitively expensive but after checking into it I learned this is not the case. Read this very informative article from Mother Earth News over here: https://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Transportation/1972-05-01/Convert-Your-Car-To-Propane.aspx.

Here’s a sample. Read what they have to say about costs:

"COSTS (roughly)
Standard retail convertor costs average about $55 (the Century G85A) for a VW, $45 (Impco JO) for other engines under 150 HP and $70 (Impco EO) for larger power plants.

"Hoses (hose A is expensive, but it doesn’t pay to cut corners here) are about $16 and a jet will set you back $1.00, fittings and hardware $6.00 and shipping (if necessary) $3.00.

“A new 14-gallon pressure tank costs around $70 but I got mine used for $35 at the first place I asked. Figuring that as average for a do-it-yourself installation, the grand total for a VW conversion comes to $116, other engines under 150 HP add up to $106 and larger power plants tally out to $131.”

I cannot estimate what kind of fuel savings, if any, you would gain by running your car on LPG (methane, propane, butane – they all work). You will have to do the math yourself. I’m suggesting only that the project is by no means out of the question.


#6

lprocter is right…the gas mileage would be SIGNIFICANTLY LESS…NOT MORE. However it will decrease pollution…And one added benefit is that you can drastically increase your oil change interval. Some fleets have increased to 25k miles miles.


#7

I’ve seen many conversions done, and the owners typically ended up spending about $1500 or more, including the tank.

If you live in an area where propane is readily available, such as Texas, or in Canada, Alberta, you can get fillups in many stations. The problem arises when you want to take a long trip to areas where there are few stations. Since propane BBQs are used all over, a list of propane retailers goes a long way to planning your refuelling.


#8

Decrease service intervals AND increase engine life. It is at least a twofer.


#9

Yes, it is worth looking into. I would suggest having it done professionally, because while it is in the scope of most backyard mechanics, thera re a few thing about it that need a professional.

For one thing most any car will need the computer talked to. Most LP conversions include a black box that tells the computer what it wants to hear so things work correctly.

Secondly, if you don’t have LP experience, let someone work on it that knows what he is doing.

Will it affect mileage? Of course. Propane has around 95,000 Btu’s gallon of liquid while gasoline has around 125,000. Ethanol has around 84,000 Reference http://www.jwiwood.com/faq/conversion.html) In actual use it will drop mileage about 10%. But the cost per mile will drop considerably as well. Propane (at least in this area) is enough cheaper than gasoline it iffsets any reduced mileage.

Plus there are fewer emissions, less maintenance, and 80% of all propane is made from natural gas.

Yes, it is a hassle, but well worth considering