LPG – Fuel that Drives the Indian Car Industry

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LPG has become the latest trend in the Indian car industry. Many car manufacturers are using this alternative fuel to produce eco-friendly and fuel-efficient cars. In India, LPG fuel is available as a kit that can be fitted in almost all car models based upon the specifications provided by the respective car manufacturer. Hyundai Santro Eco and Maruti Suzuki WagonR Duo (petrol and LPG) are the car models available with an LPG option.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as propane, is a non-renewable fossil fuel, produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. The fuel used in cars and automobiles is only a petrol form of gas that contains 90% of propane.


Dr. Walter Snelling was always surprised to see why gasoline evaporated so fast. Finally, in 1910, he investigated the evaporation process and revealed that the evaporated gases were propane, butane and other hydrocarbons that are lighter than air. After the investigation, Dr. Snelling performed a distillation process to separate liquid and gaseous form of gasoline. The gaseous form containing propane was then sold off to the Founder of Phillips Petroleum Company, Frank Phillips.

The use of propane, named as LPG, was widespread after the first car powered by propane was rolled out in 1913. Since more than 90 years, the car industry around the world is using this form of fuel for powering various automotives.

Benefits as Automotive Fuel

As an automotive fuel, LPG has various advantages. Some of the key benefits are as follows:

  • It is a smoother, quieter and cleaner fuel.
  • It extends the life of a car engine.
  • LPG has lower cost of service and maintenance as compared to common fuels like petrol and diesel.
  • It also has the ability to extend the cruising range.
  • It helps to deliver enhanced power, acceleration, and cruise speed.
  • It has high octane rating that helps the fuel to blend well with the air.
  • It is less damaging to engine and engine components.
  • It has low levels of particulate emissions.

Drawbacks as Automotive Fuel

Though the drawbacks are few, LPG as automotive fuels has some disadvantages: Cars running on LPG take a longer time for ignition during winters. This is mainly because of the low vapour pressure of the propane.

  • It contains less energy within the components and so delivers a lower driving range.
  • It occupies much of space in a car boot.
  • Use of LPG may hamper car’s performance.

Advantages of LPG on Petrol/Diesel

  • The key advantage of LPG as car fuel is the high octane content that enables refined combustion as compared to petrol or diesel.
  • In comparison to gasoline and diesel, it is a much cleaner and smoother fuel that runs the car with less noise and vibration.
  • It does not require any kind of additive for being functional.
  • LPG has an anti-knocking power, superior to diesel and almost in comparison to petrol.
  • The use of LPG in car engine will increase the engine oil drain period that further extends the life of spark plug.
  • In case of LPG there are hardly any discharges of carbon monoxide as compared to petrol and diesel.
  • Use of petrol and diesel reduces the engine life whereas use of LPG improves the life of engine as well as the components.
  • The exhaust fuel contains less harmful components.
  • The best part if that a car can have dual engines with LPG. So, if the fuel gets over or has some faults, the dual option can be used. For example, the kind of the engine in Maruti Suzuki WagonR Duo.

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