Propane, also known as liquid petroleum gas (LPG), is produced as a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Most widely used in rural areas for heating homes and powering farm and industrial equipment, less than 3% of propane produced in the U.S. is currently used in vehicles. Interest in propane as a transportation fuel is increasing due to its domestic availability, low cost, and clean burning qualities.
Additional benefits of propane include:
- Propane is competitive on a cost per mile basis.
- Propane fueled vehicles reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to their gasoline and diesel equivalents.
- Propane is widely available.
- Propane engines and fueling systems are available for upgrading heavy-duty vehicles such as school buses, shuttle buses and street sweepers.
- It is estimated that there are more than 1500 locations in California where propane can be purchased for vehicles.
- Currently, there are few propane vehicles available from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), although more offerings are coming to market.
- Propane’s energy content is approximately 25% less than gasoline. However, due to its lower cost, propane still remains an attractive choice for fleet operators.
- Upfitting and certifying vehicles are costly processes.
How is the Energy Commission Helping?
The Energy Commission allocated several million dollars for a vehicle purchase incentive program aimed at encouraging propane vehicle usage in California. The funding for this program has been exhausted.