At least 15,000 cars and trucks in Israel have been converted to run on less expensive, low emission liquefied propane gas (LPG), according to Channel 2 television.
Ariel Oren, Assistant General Manager of Pandor that imports the conversion kits, said there are now 50 LPG gas stations compared with only 15 two years ago. He said the average cost is 2.80 shekels per liter, significantly cheaper than regular 95 octane gasoline, which costs up to 6.14 shekels.
Conversion requires installation of a kit with high pressure hoses and gauges that send the liquefied bottled gas into the engine from a bottle or “balloon” located under the rear baggage compartment of the car where spare tires are typically located. Gaspro’s Assistant Director Udi Tamir said his company installs the kits for 8,500 shekels (about $2,000) “on any gasoline engine car, 1995 and upwards.” He said the process can be completed within a day.
“Fifteen million people in the world now travel on bottled gas, especially in countries like Australia and Britan, and there is no reason why Israel can’t follow their example,” Tamir explained. He said that the kit can also be removed and reinstalled in another car inexpensively.
Drawbacks include not being able to use underground parking lots for safety reasons, and the possibility that demand will push up the price of LPG, which most people already use at home for cooking. Others point to the recent discovery of large natural gas fields off the coast of Haifa as further reason to convert cars in Israel. Development of the gas fields may allow Israel to be self-sufficient in gas.
Automobile experts say that propane retrofitted cars, if installed properly, are no more dangerous than regular gasoline engines.