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UKLPG urges government to consider automotive LPG following air quality debate

The UK Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (UKLPG) is urging the government to support automotive LPG as part of its commitment to improving air quality in urban areas. As the quality of air in our cities worsens each year, pollution contributes to the premature deaths of approximately 3,400 Londoners per annum.

Following yesterday's calls by Labour MP Diane Abbott for the introduction of an ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in the capital by 2018 and tougher action to be taken on getting the most polluting taxis and buses off the road, UKLPG is urging ministers to support increased take-up of automotive LPG.

As the British government has already been ordered by the Supreme Court to clean up its air quality act, or face millions of pounds in fines for failing to cut levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx), an examination of the benefits of automotive LPG as an alternative fuel is extremely timely. Indeed, new research has revealed that air pollution from diesel engines heightens the risk of deadly strokes and anxiety.*

The environmental benefits of automotive LPG have support in a study by Atlantic Consulting, which compared tailpipe emissions of comparable vehicles powered by automotive LPG, petrol and diesel. This found that the latest diesel vehicles emit on average five times more NOx than automotive LPG.

Automotive LPG's low-carbon properties were highlighted in research by the EU Joint Research Centre. This measured the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of automotive LPG and found that the fuel emits 29.2% and 26.8% less carbon than diesel and petrol respectively.

Additionally, research carried out by Millbrook Proving Ground, Millbrook Evidence Report: The Future of LPG and its Use as an Automotive Fuel over the Next 35 Years' (February 2015), identified the role automotive LPG could play in the future of the transport sector through to 2050. There is significant scope for LPG to work with fuel cells, the research found, as well as potential for LPG usage with plug-in hybrids.

Local air quality concerns could spur an increase in automotive LPG take-up to power the public transport and local delivery vehicles operating in urban areas.

With many governments now favouring vehicles with low emissions of nitrogen dioxide and particulates, UKLPG is urging ministers to support increased take-up of automotive LPG, and to work with the body on the development of low-carbon road transport for both commercial vehicles and motorists.

This could become part of reforms due to be announced in next month's Budget on July 8th to encourage motorists to switch from the most polluting diesel vehicles to low-emission models, plans for which were outlined in yesterday's debate.

Rob Shuttleworth, chief executive of UKLPG, said: "As a low-carbon energy, automotive LPG has huge air quality benefits. It is a versatile and flexible fuel with less environmental impact than the alternatives. We would welcome a dialogue with ministers to see how we can support their proposals for lower emissions."

He continued: "Automotive LPG cannot be ignored by the government in the fight to improve urban air quality. Not only is automotive LPG suitable for motorists, it's also ideal for public transport - something that is a key consideration if the government is to meet air quality targets and develop low-carbon transportation for our urban environments."

Widely available for use in vehicles in the UK since 2000, around 150,000 drivers benefit from automotive LPG which is available at more than 1,400 refuelling sites across the UK. Vehicles powered by automotive LPG are much less harmful to the environment, emitting significantly fewer harmful pollutants.

Click here to download a copy of the Millbrook report.

*Recent studies published by the British Heart Foundation and researchers at the John Hopkins and Harvard universities found an association between strokes, anxiety and carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5.