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View Poll Results: Is LPG conversion a good option?
Yes 18 16.51%
No 91 83.49%
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Old 19th February 2021, 20:44   #1
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Default Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

Petrol prices in Chennai has touched 92.25 as on 19th Feb. Reasons may be many and justifications too. Lets not get into that.

My experience is that adding an LPG kit to your car saves a lot of money in the immediate timeframe.

I own an Elite i20 (2016 model - Asta (O), Manual). During 2018, when the car almost completed 42,000 kms, I thought about installing the Lovato LPG kit and researched it online. The internet is divided with pros and cons equally. Top three are these:
  1. Engine overheating
  2. Reduction in performance
  3. Little reduction in mileage

When I was speaking casually about this to the partner of the car wash nearby, I came to know that he was earlier managing a Lovato LPG conversion business in Chennai. He said that the heating issues were there but minimal in the latest coolant cooled cars.

So,
Engine Heating - Willing to take that risk and see how it is.
Reduction in performance is not a deal breaker for me as I am a sedate driver.
Reduction in mileage - acceptable considering the cost savings the LPG offers.

Went ahead and converted to Lovato Sequential Kit. Opted for Donut Tank (occupies the spare wheel space) so that I have space for luggage. Gave the car to him and he completed all his installation and testing and gave me the car back the next day afternoon.

Cost including everything - 35,000
Kms when I converted - 42,300
Year of conversion - 2018 November
Tank Capacity - 35 litres (Useable capacity 26 litres)

The car starts with petrol and the kit will automatically switch to LPG once the car crosses 1500 rpm. If you want to switch between fuels manually, that's also possible.

Its been 2 years and the car has run 30,000 kms after conversion. Below are the points that I experienced.
  1. Mileage Reduction - Yes. Almost a 1-2 km difference between Petrol and LPG. City 11 kmpl / highways 12-13 kmpl
  2. Performance Reduction - Yes. You cannot climb hills with LPG. Comparing with Petrol, you can feel the reduction in the performance. Did I know this earlier? Yes. Was this a conscious decision - Yes. As I mentioned, I am a sedate driver and this is OK for me.
  3. Engine heating - I did not feel that at all. How am I so sure? The engine temperature reading always showed one point less than the middle in both Petrol and LPG driving. Note that I have travelled more than 800 kms in a stretch with LPG and the engine temperature reading never crossed "middle minus one point" reading.
  4. The overall fuel capacity of the car has increased to 71 litres (45 litres petrol + 26 Litres LPG) - A total range of 800 kms without fuel stops on the highways. Ex: I can travel from Tambaram to Kanyakumari / Hyderabad / Mangalore / Trivandrum if I fill both the tanks in Chennai.

Coming to the most important thing as to why I started this thread - Cost savings. Below is an approximate working.
  • Total kms covered post conversion - 30,000 kms
  • Average Mileage considered - 11 kmpl
  • Difference between petrol and LPG prices - Rs 40 (average)
  • Fuel consumed - 2700 litres of LPG (30,000 / 11)
  • Cost Saved against petrol - Rs. 1,08,000 (2700 lts x Rs. 40)

In a nutshell, you will get your LPG kits cost back in just 10,000 kms.

Other Pointers:
  1. I converted this car when the vehicle was under warranty / extended warranty. Please note that this will affect your warranty. Many of you will advise against this but I knew what I am getting into.
  2. Since the LPG tank occupies the spare wheel space, your spare wheel will occupy your luggage space. Be mindful of that please.
  3. Registering in RTO is possible and will cost you Rs. 2,500. I did not opt for it.
  4. When I tried selling my car in OLX Cars last year, the buyer was ok with it and did not reduce any prices and neither did OLX.
  5. If I am selling this car, I will offer it with LPG and if the buyer does not want the kit, it can be easily removed and fitted into another car that I will buy in future. Almost like a plug-n-play.

I can see only advantages. One might argue that this LPG won't suit enthusiastic driving but hey, if you want to drive pedal-to-metal, just hit the switch and get it back to petrol. Problem solved.

I don't mean to say that this is a "Must-Have" but its definitely a "Good-to-have" considering the rising fuel prices.

Open to your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

Last edited by rajeshkmoorthy : 19th February 2021 at 20:50.
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Old 19th February 2021, 21:23   #2
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Default re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

I guess there is less guidance/information on the whole LPG route. Also I have not seen LPG as an option on majority of the cars from factory. Hence for someone like me, I would stay away from such an option/alteration. Not saying it is bad or negative in any manner.
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Old 19th February 2021, 21:27   #3
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Default re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

My pre owned beater car Omni has a LPG option too. It was fitted by the ex owner. The LPG cost couple of years back was hovering around 40 rs and I get overall 11-12 kmpl FE which includes a lot of runs in lower gears(since the roads it frequent are really bad and at some places non existent). The per km cost back then translated to around 3.35 ₹ which may have shot up now close to 4₹ with Auto LPG priced at 45₹, which is excellent for an eight seater car. With petrol prices having touched the 3 digit mark, the per km running cost could well be ₹10 now which is 60% more(hope my math is right here)

The tank capacity is 40 litres but I fill a max of 25 litres to be on the safer side and I plan to get the tank tested soon for any leaks or damage since it's 3-4 years old now. Yes the performance dips big time but there's immense savings. Another thing I heard is the life of engine comes down drastically with constant use of LPG, not sure how far it holds good. I run it only on petrol once a while to get the fuel lines working. Overall a very cost effective solution with it's share of shortcomings(read performance, engine life, safety).

Last edited by Bibendum90949 : 19th February 2021 at 21:38.
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Old 21st February 2021, 10:03   #4
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

Absolutely not. Your & your family's safety is worth a LOT more than a handful of thousand rupees saved every month. I have a strict stance against such aftermarket conversions. If at all you want an LPG or CNG car, factory-fitted kits are the only way to go. They will ensure that certain quality & safety standards are maintained.

There are so many better alternatives if petrol prices are bothering you = do a lateral upgrade to a used diesel car, work-from-home a bit more, drive in a more FE conscious manner, walk if the destination is under 2 km (I do this for fitness), combine multiple outings into one etc.

But absolutely no after-market conversions please. The risk is too high. I have done everything possible in the Indian after-market, including LPG conversions, engine swaps, gearbox swaps, ground up rebuilds and more. I have learnt the expensive way = factory fit is factory fit.
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Old 21st February 2021, 12:42   #5
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

Here's my experience (domestic lpg cylinder plus Lovato plus MPFI Maruti 800):

TLDR - LPG kits fitted by third parties are like everything else in India - shoddy! If you are lucky, you may get someone who may end up doing a good job. LPG has lower energy density and for an engine not designed for it, the lower torque will affect driveability. Safety is a concern with 3rd party fitment. Servicing will cost you, as you will have to depend on these very same people. Don't do it! But then YMMV.

Had a Lovato kit (simplest kit available at the time - not closed loop) on my 2003 MPFI Maruti 800. (installed 2006)

2008 - Ended up blowing the head gasket, which I later learnt was a common problem with lpg fueled cars.
Note that ASS will not touch the kit, in fact, they will not even remove it, you will be at the mercy of the lpg fitment garages if any issues arise.

LPG has the least energy density
Diesel > Petrol >CNG >LPG
For some reason LPG is measured in litres while CNG is measured in Kg. Note that diesel has 30 percent greater energy per litre and LPG nearly 20 percent less than petrol per litre. Compute your fuel costs per unit of energy.
Note that 1.83 litres of LPG is 1 Kg of LPG, so beware of misleading mileage comparisons put out by car magazines.

Warranty is nonsense, need I say more?
Safety? I wasn't able to get a horn relay (included by the manufacturer with the horn kit) fitted by a "reputed" dealer in Koramangala after arguing with the owner and the technician for nearly 10 minutes, so I'm guessing that same attitude carries over to everyone else in the aftermarket industry. They simply punched a hole in the body of the car and routed a copper tube without using any rubber grommets to prevent the line from getting cut due to rubbing against the sharp edges of the hole - I think they plugged the gaps with paper or cloth after I complained.

Have to state that this kit was economical only because domestic lpg cylinders were the fuel source. Dangerous and ill advised.
Things are probably better now with more sophisticated kits and the garages that fit them are likely better at it. But as a nation we are very casual about safety and this another critical issue with LPG fitments by 3rd parties. I would strongly recommend a factory fitted LPG fuel system.

Got the kit removed by paying Rs 1000 and gave away the kit. Driving the same car after getting rid of the LPG kit was like driving a sports car .
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Old 22nd February 2021, 08:08   #6
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

LPG kits are too risky and too much can go wrong in aftermarket installations. Why don't OEMs themselves design retrofit kits in an FE-obsessed country like India?

Answer: Reliability & Liability issues.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvadg View Post
Here's my experience (domestic lpg cylinder plus Lovato plus MPFI Maruti 800):
Isn't using a domestic LPG cylinder to power a car illegal? I read somewhere that cooking LPG is subsidized in price.

Last edited by landcruiser123 : 22nd February 2021 at 08:09.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 08:40   #7
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

Quote:
Originally Posted by landcruiser123 View Post
LPG kits are too risky and too much can go wrong in aftermarket installations. Why don't OEMs themselves design retrofit kits in an FE-obsessed country like India?

Answer: Reliability & Liability issues.

Isn't using a domestic LPG cylinder to power a car illegal? I read somewhere that cooking LPG is subsidized in price.
Yes, it is illegal. In those times (2000s) most conversions were made on the Maruti Omni, and the M800 and some of the Daewoos, hardly any LPG tanks were fitted as there were almost no LPG stations. Some taxis had proper LPG tanks fitted. Plus I was much more stupid those days (debatable )

And true on the liability and reliability part, that's why reputed companies will not approve any modification, however simple it may seem, to their products.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 10:34   #8
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

Voted No
Safety is of paramount importance to me. Haven't you read about how school vans (old Omni vans) converted to run on LPG caught fire? I am really wary of such conversions.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 10:50   #9
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

Voted No.

Even if you are lucky to get it installed from a good technician, the Indian ambient conditions are too unpredicatable. Parking the car in the sun could easily take the interior temperatures beyond 60 degrees celcius in most cases. Though most LPG are designed to withstand upto 65 degrees, that's periliously close to the operating limit.

In addition, if there is a safety vent valve built in, it may release the gas inside the closed car. I will never be comfortable with a high pressure explosive gas sitting behind my family seperated by a few mm of old metal installed by a FNG.

Last edited by TheCatalyst : 22nd February 2021 at 10:54.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 10:51   #10
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

It is compulsory to endorse the LPG kit on the RC book. If you don't register the kit with RTO it is illegal . Even Insurance won't be valid in that case. Also in my area LPG pumps are being replaced by CNG pumps so future availability of LPG will be an issue.

I won't recommend anyone to go for aftermarket CNG/LPG installations since they create problems in the long run. Recently, one of my friends 2018 Maruti Ertiga which was fitted with aftermarket CNG kit started giving lots of issues ( low pickup, low mileage on both the fuels) after 50k km and thus he is planning to sell the car off and buy the New Ertiga with factory fitted CNG. Thus, if you want to go for CNG go for factory fitted options.

Last edited by carfreak7 : 22nd February 2021 at 10:55.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 11:42   #11
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

Voted a No. I did this custom fit way back in 2010 on my then Maruti 800. The result was horrible to say the least. I was a new driver back then, I myself felt the car and my life was put in danger, all to save a few thousand rupees. I got it removed after 1 year of usage and got back to petrol. The power was too low, the meter readings were all over the place and the cold starts were a nightmare. I think with technology, it might have gotten better but will never take that route.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 11:49   #12
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

Despite the benefits, I would not opt for the LPG kit. Maybe some factory fitted car like the WagonR duo, I would look into it. But my personal belief is that if you can't afford to buy fuel for your car, either look for alternatives like less usage or sell it altogether.

Too risky, and I have personally witnessed an Omni on fire due to the kit leakage. Risk is simply not worth it.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 12:21   #13
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

I'll never go for it, had it in my pre-worshipped Santro and removed it cause of below mentioned reasons...

1, It was an after-market thing installed by previous owner & not a company fitted product.
2, The fitting done was doubtful and safety comes before economical advantages.

happily used it for a couple of years and later switched over to i10.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 12:25   #14
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

Global consumption of Autogas has been rising steadily in recent years, reaching 27.1 million tonnes in 2019. In world around 3 crores cars are run on LPG. Turkey is in first place. 2.Poland 3.Russia 4. Ukraine 5. Italy.
https://auto-gas.net/about-autogas/the-autogas-market/

South Korea leads the world in the usage of this clean auto fuel with sales of more than 4 million tonnes annually. More than 70 countries use Auto LPG in vehicles to help clean their urban air and clean environment. Among the Key nations that have successfully adopted this green fuel for their transportation requirements are South Korea, Turkey, Poland, Japan, Australia, Italy, Mexico, USA, Russia & China.
In terms of LPG refuelling infrastructure, there are over 6000 LPG Filling Stations in Poland, over 5000 in Turkey, about 3000 each in Australia, Mexico and more than 2000 stations each in nations like Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Holland and the US.

Governments across the globe promote alternative fuels through several Fiscal and Non- Fiscal Incentives, which could be summarized as under:

Fiscal

∑ Sales Tax and Excise duty exemption or rebate

∑ Road / registration-tax exemption or rebate

∑ Vehicle sales tax exemption or income/profit tax credit for purchasers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)

∑ Tax credits to companies for investment in distribution infrastructure and research and development.

∑ Grants/tax credits for vehicle conversions or purchases

∑ Exemption from parking or road-use charges

Regulatory

∑ Mandatory purchase requirements for public and/or private fleets.

Price in India.

Delhi 51.45
Kolkata 49.87
Mumbai 50.34
Chennai 49.45
View Prices
Source: IOCL Website
https://www.iac.org.in/auto-lpg-worldwide

LPG cars are big in europe, 1.5 Crore+ cars out of 28 crore+ cars. There are 48,000+ LPG filling station in europe.

There are 70+ LPG car models available in europe. LPG cars are offered from manufacturers like Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Ford, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Opel, Subaru, Citoen, Dacia.
https://www.liquidgaseurope.eu/sustainable-mobility

Independent tests by the TNO in Holland concluded that LPG vehicles were safer in an accident than petrol. In fire service tests in the UK it was demonstrated that in the event of a serious fire occupants in a vehicle have three times longer to evacuate with LPG than petrol.
There is a network of approximately 200 Liquid Gas UK Approved Autogas Installers located throughout the UK who can convert your vehicle and depending on the make of system installed, undertake servicing and repair of your LPG system.

Filling up is just as easy as petrol and there are over 1000 re-fuelling points throughout the UK, most of which are on petrol forecourts open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

LPG creates up to 80% less NO2 than a diesel and around 5-7 times less than a petrol car.
LPG produces less CO2 and NO2 compared to petrol and diesel.
CO2 is also reduced compared to petrol by roughly 15%.

https://www.drivelpg.co.uk/about-autogas/safe-easy/

In Turkey 80% of all LPG consumed throughout the country is used as autogas.

BRC cooperates with the world's leading automobile manufacturers in the production of LPG vehicles. Equipped with BRC products, the automobile brands offered for sale as LPG from the factory include world giants such as Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Audi, Volkswagen, Peugeot, Chevrolet, Citroen, Ford, Fiat, Honda, Kia, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Suzuki, Daihatsu.

https://en.rayhaber.com/2019/07/LPG-...-first-turkey/

Overall it is a cleaner fuel than conventional diesel and petrol plus it is more abundant in nature and easy to procure. As far as I am concerned, my first choice will always be a diesel car with a manual transmission. In future I will prefer HEV cars rather than a pure EV.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 13:34   #15
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Default Re: Skyrocketing petrol prices - Is LPG conversion a good option?

As an ex-i20 owner, I toyed with the idea of getting CNG/LPG kit fitted when I was doing 100 km a day and the petrol costs were killing me. Saw few videos and talked to some people and thankfully decided against it, yours luckily did not have a problem but in my experience 8 out of 10 cars struggled with some or the other issues with the aftermarket kits. Also could not wrap my head around having an LPG cylinder in my boot.

Gave up the idea and picked up a diesel Duster in the end! I will vote No and say your safety and life is much more important than the savings. Even if thereís just a 1% chance of things going wrong with the kit, I am not ready to take it. If itís really important then get a factory fitted CNG car from Maruti.
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