Drive Your Propane-Mobile All the Way to the Bank

Das Cheap: At this German gas station, autogas costs half as much as gasoline. (image: Björn Koblow via flickr.com)

Maybe you’ve already heard the spiel on the potential savings of getting a propane-powered car. And maybe you know about the 50-cent per gallon tax credit available for cars that run on “autogas” — the name for LPG when it’s in your car’s gas tank. And maybe you’ve thought: “Yeah, I guess getting a propane-mobile could be cheaper.”

But it’s another matter altogether to see autogas advertised on a gas station sign last week, and realize how cheap it is compared to gasoline. (Thanks, Björn Koblow!) Granted, this photo is from Germany, and refers to a liter of LPG. But doing some quick Euro calculations on that sign: a gallon of super is $7.68, a gallon of propane is $3.94. That puts the price ratio of propane to gasoline at 50-percent in Germany. In the US, the ratio is typically pegged at about 65-percent, though our gasoline isn’t so expensive to begin with.

When a school district in Iowa considered leasing some LPG-powered school buses last year, the superintendent said fuel costs would come out to 65-cents a gallon. They were getting wholesale prices and adding in other incentives — but those are available to most motorists, too. Thinking of converting? Have a look at the Department of Energy’s map to see if your state will help.

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