The Health Benefits of Using Autogas
LPG Autogas is one of the world’s leading alternative vehicle fuels.
There are approximately 25 million LPG fuelled vehicles worldwide.
Many switch to LPG to save money on operating costs.
But autogas conversions are not all about the money – there are actually health benefits associated with using LPG instead of traditional fuels.
When any fuel is burned to generate energy, emissions are created.
In some cases, as with burning hydrogen, the emissions are totally benign.
However, conventional motor fuels emit combustion by-products in the form of exhaust emissions.
Given that we all breathe the air, it is important that any harmful emissions are either minimised or completely eliminated.
Our bodies are not designed to breathe in chemicals and small particles of matter.
Air pollution is especially bad for people who are suffering from serious illnesses, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and lung cancer.
One study found that asthmatic children are 40% more likely to have an asthma attack on days when they are exposed to high levels of air pollution.
The worst part of the day for many children is the school bus ride, as they sit in traffic or stand next to buses, waiting to board.
Diesel exhaust is especially dangerous, containing nearly 40 hazardous pollutants.
Diesel contains benzene, formaldehyde, and 1,3-butadiene, of which all three are recognised carcinogens.
The California Air Resources Board concluded that diesel emissions account for the majority of cancer risk created by all outdoor air pollution sources in California.
The US EPA estimates that vehicle emissions account for as many as half of all cancers attributed to outdoor air pollution.
Fine Particle Waste
Fine particles can aggravate both heart and lung diseases and are responsible for premature deaths.
Diesel exhaust contains carbon particles that are extremely small in size, at less than one micron.
These fine particles may be deeply inhaled into the lung and carry with them a collection of attached hazardous compounds.
Organic compounds from diesel exhaust with known toxic and carcinogenic properties adhere to the rough surface of the carbon particles and are carried deep into the lungs
These particles are so small that they can actually get into the deepest and most sensitive parts of the lungs, with some even passing through lung tissue directly into the blood stream.
Long-term exposure to particulates can cause increased respiratory disease, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, and premature death caused by respiratory problems, cardiovascular problems, and cancer.
Whilst diesel exhaust fumes contain a high amount of fine particles and ultra-fine particles, LPG combustion produces almost no fine particles.
Testing has shown that vehicles which run off of diesel actually emit up to 120 times more fine particles than LPG cars do.
In terms of your health, this means that, with LPG, you will be releasing far fewer fine particles into the air around you.
Now, Scientists at Stanford actually believe that around 20,000 deaths per year worldwide may be attributed to carbon dioxide for each degree Celsius of temperature rise.
“The study is the first specifically to isolate carbon dioxide’s effect from that of other global-warming agents and to find quantitatively that chemical and meteorological changes due to carbon dioxide itself increase mortality due to increased ozone, particles and carcinogens in the air.”
Higher temperatures due to CO2 increased the chemical rate of ozone production.
Higher temperatures also increase water vapour further boosting chemical ozone production.
An LPG car covering 20,000 km per year will save over 1.5 tonnes of CO2 in two years.
The greenhouse gas intensity of LPG was measured by the independent EU Joint Research Centre.
This included emissions associated with the processing and transportation, as well as use.
The well-to-wheel results were as follows:
LPG: 73.1 gCO2eq/MJ
Petrol: 93.3 gCO2eq/MJ (26.8% higher than LPG)
Diesel: 95.1 gCO2eq/MJ (29.2% higher than LPG)
Ozone Cause and Effects
While ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere is undesirable, high ozone concentrations at ground level are actually harmful.
Ozone is more likely to reach unhealthy levels on hot, sunny days, for which Australia is renowned.
Vehicles do not produce ozone directly but emit precursors, such as NOx (nitrogen oxides).
Traditional fuels, and especially diesel, give off high levels of NOx, which react in sunlight to form ozone.
In terms of ozone causing NOx emissions, one diesel vehicle produces 20x the NOx emission levels of an LPG Autogas vehicle.
Ozone is consistently associated with increased severity of asthma symptoms, as well as with new diagnoses of asthma.
Asthmatic children are particularly susceptible.
There is a documented relationship between high ozone levels and increased asthma related emergency room visits.
Repeated exposure to ozone may cause permanent damage to the lungs – especially in young children – affect the immune system, aggravate heart disease, and cause reproductive and genetic damage.
Harmful Fumes from Refilling
When filling up with petrol or diesel, chemical vapours escape into the atmosphere and can also be inhaled.
Filling an LPG tank is a fully sealed process, so any health risk, from fugitive emissions, is minimised with LPG.
Air pollution can cause or exacerbate serious illnesses, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and lung cancer.
Minimising these pollutants is important, as they affect our health and wellbeing.
LPG Autogas produces virtually no particulates and much lower NOx and CO2 emissions.
So, switching from petrol or diesel to LPG not only saves money at the pump, it can also improve the air we breathe and save lives.
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The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.