Can I convert my car to run on gas?

Here is what you need to know about converting your vehicle to gas.

Converting your car, or for that matter your petrol generator, to run on gas can save you as much as 40% in costs.

In November last year, it was announced that Bogner Motor City Workshop in Edenvale, Gauteng, was the first workshop within the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) Organisation, to become a fully equipped gas conversion fitment centre.

This clearly opens up an opportunity for other MIWA workshops to diversify in a similar fashion. “We already have access to an international team of trainers who are able to train our workshop owners according to international standards,” says Pieter Niemand, the national director of the MIWA. Once trained, the workshop will be able to complete a full conversion on the vehicle, so it will be bi-fuel, running on both petrol and or LP gas after the conversion. “It will include the full calibration and each installation will be certified with both the SAQCC Gas and the LPGSA Association,” he says.

Niemand says although this is a relatively new concept for most South Africans, the Automotive Remanufacturers Association, another proud association of the RMI, is definitely leading the way in exploring possibilities of autogas technology/energy in the Automotive Aftermarket Retail Sector (REMAN) arena, and the developments at Bogner Motor City are setting the benchmark for other workshops to follow.

“With South Africa`s ongoing problems with electricity supply and fluctuating petrol prices, we know there will soon be a growing demand for autogas as consumers begin to understand the benefits.  Autogas is perfect for this interim period. The technology is here, ready and easily available, and it remains an affordable alternative in South Africa,” says Niemand.

For motorists or big fleet owners, the best thing about the conversion is the cost saving, particularly at a time when fuel increases are crippling many motorists. The total estimated saving and return on investment can be worked out within minutes, showing exactly how many kilometres you will need to drive to reach your break-even point.

“One can expect up to 40% savings overall; an effortless switch over from petrol to gas; zero engine performance losses and a low carbon content that is beneficial for the environment. For corporate customers, there is also a tax incentive and companies can claim back the VAT when purchasing LP gas,” he says.

It is important for customers to understand that converting to an autogas kit will not change their engine performance at all or their gas or fuel consumption. The main advantage of gas is it is cheaper than petrol and your engine also runs cleaner, which means a longer engine life, less component wear and cleaner emissions.

For storage, there are different cylinders or “doughnuts” available, depending on the customer’s needs and choice.  “A 37-litre-capacity doughnut, for example, will fit in where your car’s spare wheel is currently,” says Niemand.

And yes, it is possible to convert your petrol generator to run on LPG. Its current carburettor is replaced with a gas-compliant one and hose, and a reducer is fitted. This is then connected to your gas bottle. It is important to remember although this conversion is done by a qualified technician, you will also need a Certificate of Clearance for your insurance. This conversion will benefit you in two ways – cost of fuel and reduced emissions, and a quieter running generator and prolonged service.

For workshops to remain relevant and to grow, diversification is something that is needed, especially with electric vehicles increasing, but still a relatively new venture in South Africa.

“It will be a few years before it becomes a permanent solution and the electricity supply becomes stable again. We are starting to see more gas fuel stations. In Gauteng, there are stations at Sasol Spartan – Kempton Park, Gas Giant – Boksburg, Sasol West Star – Pretoria West and EPG in Pretoria Central. We are hoping for a larger footprint soon,” he concludes.

Source: Cathy Finley PR


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