EghtesadOnline: After gasoline was rationed last November and the price of non-subsidized fuel doubled, some motorists turned to using other types of fuels for their cars such as compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas. They converted their car engines to CNG hybrid or to LPG.
Those who chose CNG have no problem buying the fuel but those who opted for LPG face problems including shortage of the fuel and lack of official and authorized stations, Fars News Agency reported.
While LPG is preferred for car engines, the Oil Ministry has promoted the use of only CNG and has plans to convert 1.4 million public vehicles to CNG hybrids free of charge.
As such, the use of CNG in Iran has increased and reached 24 million cubic meters per day from 20 mcm up until the recent post.
Despite the fact that LPG production is higher than domestic demand plus export need, the Oil Ministry has no plans to promote the use of LPG.
Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said earlier this year that so long as cars can run on CNG, LPG should be used for other purposes.
“The capacity to produce LPG is limited. There are two million households that are not linked to the national gas grid and need LPG for cooking.”
However, statistics show around 17 million tons of LPG is produced every year, of which about 6 million tons is exported, 2 million tons are consumed by households with no access to piped gas, namely in the southern provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan and Kerman.
The remaining nine million tons are burned as gas flares. This huge amount of fuel is wasted when the experience of other countries shows it can be used in cars.
LPG prolongs engine life and reduces maintenance costs. Moreover, as a fuel it is considered safer for the environment because combustion of LPG is more complete and efficient than gasoline, meaning that carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon content is much less.
The emission of an LPG engine is typically only carbon monoxide, which is relatively harmless. It is especially helpful to replace diesel in buses that are among the main polluters in many cities.
On the global scale, 270 million tons of this fuel is produced, of which vehicles consume 26 million tons (10%). This is while in Iran it barely accounts for 2% of the fuel used in transportation sector.
There are at least 1.2 million cars equipped with LPG kits but very few stations where drivers can fill up.
According to reports, there are an estimated 4.7 million, 3 million, 2.5 million and 2.4 million cars running on LPG in Turkey, Russia, South Korea and Italy, respectively.
Many Asian and European car manufacturers offer LPG versions of their cars. Toyota, Hyundai and Daewoo are among the big manufacturers in Asia. The Europeans include Volkswagen, Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Opel, Peugeot, Renault and Volvo.