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Personal: Transportation


What is propane?
Availability and Cost
Safety and Performance

Availability and Cost

Some manufacturers in North America and other parts of the world produce propane vehicles and engines. The benefit of buying a factory-built propane vehicle is that the fuel system, ignition control, emissions system, on-board diagnostic system and even parts of the engine will be optimized for propane use. This helps reduce emissions and improve fuel economy, driveability and horsepower.

Some manufacturers offer vehicles that run on propane, but conventional gasoline vehicles can also be converted to run on propane, starting at about $4,000. A vehicle can be converted to run on propane alone, or to run on either propane or gasoline. Equipment to convert vehicles is readily available, as are the facilities to install and service them. British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario have the largest auto propane markets in Canada.

Fuel and refuelling

Propane is dispensed in the same way as conventional gasoline, takes about the same amount of time to refuel and is sold in litres. It takes 1.36 litres of propane to travel the same distance as it takes 1 litre of gasoline. But even when this difference is factored in, propane can be about 25 to 30 percent cheaper than gasoline, depending on your local cost for propane. Also, because propane weighs less than gasoline, propane tanks can be made larger without affecting vehicle acceleration.

There are about 3,000 retail fuel outlets across the country, with a higher concentration in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Many of these are operated by the major gasoline retailers, and it is usually easy to find stations that sell propane, even in smaller towns. Propane is often called LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) or auto propane.

A partial list of refuelling stations across Canada is maintained by the Propane Gas Association of Canada Inc., and a list of distributors in Quebec can be found at the Web site of the Association Québécoise du Propane (in French only).