Air quality: a follow up report

Written evidence submitted by UKLPG

UKLPG welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Inquiry by the Environmental Audit Committee on Air Quality. UKLPG is the trade body for the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) industry and represents all the major LPG supply companies, LPG conversion equipment suppliers and vehicle converters in the UK. This response outlines the LPG industry’s views generally on the current Air Quality approach in the UK, specifically relating to the role of transport policy. We would be happy to discuss any of the issues raised in this response and in the consultation paper with the Environmental Audit Committee.

1. Executive Summary

1.1. LPG autogas is a popular, clean and green fuel with the potential to help to meet the UK’s public policy objectives on clean air as well as CO2 emissions.

1.2. UKLPG fully supports London’s and the UK’s objectives of meeting the Air Quality Directive’s PM limit values by 2011 and NOx limit values by 2015.

1.3. Measures to support innovation, research and development as well as the take up of new products are welcome, UKLPG would however emphasise the role that existing technology could play. LPG autogas is an established and proven technology which can be applied to private cars, taxis, and light commercial vehicles, without the need to scrap and replace a large number of vehicles.

1.4. Air Quality Strategy tends to focus on only two transport fuels: electric and hydrogen. If other alternatives to conventional fuels are not considered, opportunities to reduce emissions of pollutants speedily and economically could be wasted. UKLPG believes that any strategy should include a thorough consideration of the role of transport fuels in meeting emissions targets, and of support for alternative fuels with lower NOx and PM emissions, such as LPG autogas.

2. About UKLPG

2.1. UKLPG is the trade body for the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) industry and represents all the major LPG supply companies, LPG conversion equipment suppliers and vehicle converters in the UK.

2.2. This document has been produced by the LPG autogas division of UKLPG, and focuses on LPG as a transport fuel for passenger and light commercial vehicles.

2.3. Member companies cover over 95% of the total LPG sales in the UK, around 80% of autogas equipment sales and the participants in the UKLPG Approved Autogas Installer Scheme account for around 70% of vehicle conversions.

2.4. LPG autogas, also known as propane, is a clean and readily available, low carbon alternative fuel. There are over 160,000 LPG vehicles in the UK, served by over 1400 refuelling sites and a national network of vehicle installers, representing a £50 million investment from the LPG industry.

2.5. There has been significant international take up of LPG autogas, most notably where support was available from governments. In Germany, for example, the government announced in 2006 that fuel duty on LPG would be fixed to 2018. The market is now growing to over 100,000 conversions per annum. Vehicle manufacturers are now producing factory fitted LPG options for the market.

3. LPG autogas as a clean fuel

3.1. LPG is a by-product of oil refining and/or natural gas importation, supplied to market as a liquid gas under pressure. It is supplied to petrol stations by road tanker and is stored in a tank and delivered to cars in a similar way to petrol through a dedicated pump. Cars are either converted to LPG at point of manufacture, or retrofitted, at a cost between approximately £1300 and £2500.

3.2. LPG is a clean fuel, exceeding the highest performing combinations of conventional fuels and new vehicles in terms of air quality. Proposed Euro VI limits for diesel commercial vehicles are 0.08 gm/km NOx and 0.005 gm/km PM, a moderate improvement on current Euro V standards of 0.18 gm/km NOx, and 0.005 gm/km PM. Average emissions for LPG, according to 2003 EDC Type 1 European Emissions Testing Programme tests, were 0.018 gm/km NOx, with PM levels too low to measure.

3.3. Increased uptake of LPG autogas in the UK could make significant contributions to meeting the UK’s targets.

3.4. LPG autogas has additional benefits in terms of noise pollution and CO2 emissions. Vehicles running on LPG are estimated to reduce noise pollution by 50% when compared with diesel.

Life cycle (well to wheel) analysis demonstrates that an LPG autogas-fuelled vehicle generates 14% and 10% lower CO2 emissions than its petrol and diesel run equivalents respectively. Exact emissions vary between vehicles, but the vast majority of cars in the existing parc (total vehicles on London’s roads) would have their exhaust CO2 emissions improved.

3.5. LPG autogas is a retrofitted solution, meaning that there are immediate opportunities for Londoners to reduce their emissions by converting to LPG. Other solutions, such as electric vehicles, are only adopted where members of the public purchase a new car.

3.6. LPG autogas is an innovative, low cost and low carbon technology with a fully established national conversion and refuelling network – a network created by the private sector, with no cost to Government. The infrastructure is in place to provide LPG capability and consequent emissions reductions to the 20 million-plus petrol vehicles currently on our roads and the 60% of new cars which are fuelled by petrol.

3.7. There is a mature network of LPG autogas filling stations in the UK, including several within the major cities such as London and Birmingham. These filling stations are operated by both well-known brands such as Shell, Total, BP, Sainsburys, Morrisons and Co-Op, as well as many independent suppliers of LPG.

3.8. There are numerous examples from around the world, such as Asia, where LPG works well with electric vehicles, providing back up power for when batteries run out. Hybrid solutions like these demonstrate that LPG is an established and proven solution that could help to provide a stepping stone in the roll out of electric cars as part of the energy mix.

4. Conclusion

4.1. LPG autogas can play a key role in meeting the EU targets. As a proven and established technology that can be applied to existing vehicles, LPG autogas can deliver reductions in NOx and PM levels quickly and cheaply.

UKLPG would be delighted to discuss the content of this document in further detail. For further information, please contact:

Appendix

Case Study: LPG Light Commercial Vehicles versus Euro 5 Standards

Converted Euro IV light commercial vehicles converted to LPG autogas are cleaner than Euro V standards. Euro V converted vehicles are not yet available to test, but with Euro IV converted already bettering the Euro V standard then even greater benefits can be expected in the future.

The comparisons below show two typical LPG LCV results for type N1 and type N2. Both examples demonstrate the continuing advantage of LPG in comparison with petrol and diesel light commercial vehicles: better on NOx than petrol and diesel; infinitely better than diesel on particulates, and considerably better than petrol on complex hydrocarbons.

Diesel LCV Type N1 (1) Diesel LCV Type N2 (2)

1 – Based on a 1.6 Citroen Berlingo

2 – Based on a 2.3 Ford Transit

3 - Euro standards limits as per European Emission Regulations – source www.dieselnet.com/standards/eu/ld.php

4 - Figures taken from emissions testing carried out for Powershift Registration 2010

Petrol LCV Type N1 (1) Petrol LCV Type N2(2)

1 – Based on a 1.6 Citroen Berlingo

2 – Based on a 2.3 Ford Transit

3 - Euro standards limits as per European Emission Regulations – source www.dieselnet.com/standards/eu/ld.php

4 - Figures taken from emissions testing carried out for Powershift Registration 2010

3 June 2011

Prepared 17th June 2011