Propane, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is the third widest used transportation fuel in the world, following gasoline and diesel. Propane is an odorless, non-toxic hydrocarbon gas at normal pressures and temperatures. When pressurized, it is a liquid with an energy density 270 times greater than its gaseous form. A propane vehicle operates similarly to a gasoline or diesel vehicle by burning the gas in an internal combustion engine. Since the fuel is cleaner-burning, a propane vehicle has fewer emissions, and propane helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Propane School Buses are just better…
A very common application for propane is in school buses, where propane can be bought in bulk for much cheaper than diesel to save on operating costs, and the buses are also much quieter. The animated video below creatively explains these benefits and more.
AmeriGas Clean Community Grant
To encourage school districts switch to propane fueled buses, AmeriGas has developed a grant system to help ease the transition. School districts now have the opportunity to replace their diesel buses and receive up to $5,000.00 for each newly purchased propane powered school bus. The school districts that make this transition and apply for this grant are making a smart decision for their schools, their students, and their communities. Please click here to learn more about this amazing opportunity.
Is propane safe for vehicle use?Yes. Propane vehicles must meet the same safety standards as gasoline vehicles and have passed rigorous crash testing. In addition, propane has an incredibly narrow flammability range, and its tanks are 20 times more puncture-resistant than gasoline tanks. And, there is low-to-no chance of the propane escaping the tank.
What propane vehicles are available?
- Dedicated vehicles that run solely on propane
- Bifuel vehicles that have two separate fueling systems
Vehicles can either be converted to use propane or delivered as dedicated propane vehicles directly through select original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) dealerships. Certified technicians can install U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and/or California Air Resources Board certified propane conversion systems on a variety of vehicles. For more complete lists of certified conversion systems, click here. Medium-duty propane vehicles and heavy-duty propane engines are also available; to find them, use the Heavy-Duty Vehicle and Engine Search on the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) website.
How do propane vehicles work?
- Vapor Injection
- In vapor-injected systems, liquid propane is controlled by a regulator or vaporizer, which converts the liquid to a vapor. The vapor is fed to a mixer located near the intake manifold where it is metered and combined with filtered air before being drawn into the combustion chamber and burned to produce power, just like a gasoline engine.
- Liquid Injection
- In liquid-injected systems, fuel is delivered into the combustion chamber, or intake port, in a liquid form (instead of a vapor). This way, the fuel combusts more fully and provides optimal power and throttle response.
In both types, propane is stored as a liquid in a relatively low-pressure tank (about 300 psi).
How do propane vehicles perform?
How much do propane vehicles cost?
The lower maintenance costs are also a prime reason propane is popular for high-mileage vehicles. Propane’s high octane rating (104 to 112 compared with 87 to 92 for gasoline) and low-carbon and oil-contamination characteristics have resulted in the documented engine life of up to two times that of gasoline engines. For more information, click here.
Where is propane available?
Where can I learn more about propane?
Propane Fueling Station Locator