Autogas

Environmental benefits of autogas

Road-transport vehicles are an important source of both air pollutants and climate-destabilising greenhouse gases. There is clear evidence of the harmful impact on human health of exposure to vehicle pollutants. As a result, local air quality has become a major policy issue in almost all countries. Most industrialised countries have made substantial progress in reducing pollution caused by cars and trucks through improvements in fuel economy, fuel quality and the installation of emission-control equipment in vehicles. Increasingly, these improvements have been driven by emission standards. However, rising road traffic has offset in most countries at least part of the improvements in vehicle-emissions performance. Less progress has been made in developing countries, where local pollution in many major cities and towns has reached catastrophic proportions.

 

Autogas is the term generally used for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), when it is used for the propulsion of road vehicles.

It is obtained as a by-product of the distillation of oil from crude oil and from "wet" North Sea gas. It is produced in large quantities, a surplus of approximately 4 million tonnes per annum is currently available from the North Sea . This surplus is forecast to increase over the next 20 years.

 

Market trends

Autogas is the most widely used and accepted alternative to the conventional oil-based transport fuels, gasoline and diesel. A number of countries today have well-developed autogas markets. Global consumption of autogas reached 22.9 million tonnes in 2010 ( See table ), and is increasing rapidly. Demand increased by 8.7 Mt, or 60%, between 2000 and 2010, with growth coming from established and emerging markets ( See picture ). Demand nonetheless remains highly concentrated in a small number of markets: the five largest countries accounted for 53% of world consumption in 2010 and the top ten for 75%. The 18 countries surveyed in this report together accounted for 84% of world autogas use. The four largest consumers – Korea, Turkey, Russia and Poland – saw the largest increases in consumption in absolute terms over the ten years to 2010.

There are more than 17 million autogas vehicles in use around the world and over 57 000 refuelling sites. Autogas accounted for little more than 9% of global consumption of LP Gas, but this share varies considerably across countries. Among the countries surveyed, the share is highest in Poland, where it is 73%, and is lowest in the United States at 1%. A detailed breakdown of the global market and recent trends in consumption, numbers of vehicles and refuelling sites can be found in Annex 1.

 

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