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One drive closer: how car energy is developing

ByDave Stopher

Feb 16, 2020 #Motoring

One of the major contributors to climate change is vehicles, with over 38.4 million vehicles registered in Great Britain alone, this is becoming an increasing issue. The UK’s 2050 Net Zero emissions target is now enshrined in law, so pressure to reduce harmful emissions on our roads has never been greater – and as a result, the government is actively introducing measures to reduce our carbon footprint and clean up our air pollution problem.

Its not only climate change that is being threatened when it comes to vehicle emissions.  Air pollution also affects public health, with 92% of the global population living in places where air quality levels exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) limits.[1] Emissions from transport are having a huge impact on our day-to-lives and our carbon footprint alike, so it’s imperative that we understand the new developments and fuel alternatives that are helping create a greener and healthier future for the way we drive. Here, we explore the main ways that car energy is changing.

The Move Towards the Road to Zero

Over the next 20 years, the ways in which we fuel our vehicles is set to change – now with the advancement of LPG Autogas and electric cars already in action. This is mainly due to the government’s Road to Zero Strategy, which aims to end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040. The Strategy also plans to increase the supply and sustainability of low carbon fuels, as a way to reduce emissions from the existing vehicles already on our roads.

Cities that have the highest levels of pollution are also attempting to strive for change by putting regional level policies in place. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, introduced the capital’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) on 08th April 2019, which stipulates that vehicles driving within the zone must meet new, tighter emissions standards or pay a daily charge. The aim is to improve air quality and lower emissions from conventional petrol and diesel-run vehicles in central London, with emissions set to fall by as much as 45% by 2020.

The movements away from traditional fuels such as petrol and diesel is a positive change, however what are the substitutes for these?


An electric evolution

The idea of electric cars has been speculated for years, especially with the powerful environmental and air quality benefits that can be gained from them. However, it was thought of as more of an ideal to aspire to rather than a serious catalyst in the fight against climate change. This has all changed in the last decade, with the development of advanced electric vehicle technology that has given electric cars mainstream credibility and appeal.

Due to Generation Z drivers becoming increasingly more aware of the impact they have on the environment, the demand for electric cars hit the roof. Research suggests that people aged 18-24 are the most likely to own an electric vehicle, with the main reason being the climate crisis.[2]

However, the technology that is currently available is yet to be supported by the infrastructure we have. With a chronic shortage of public charging points, one of the biggest impediments to many buying an electric car is the fear of running out of power and the risk of not being able to recharge on the go.


An alternative solution: LPG

There are, however, alternative fuels that are readily available to use that contribute towards energy efficiency and the reduction of carbon emissions until electric cars make it to the mass market. Autogas, also known as LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), is the most accessible alternative fuel on the market – with over 170,000 Autogas vehicles currently on the road across the UK, serviced by more than 1,400 refuelling stations.[3]

In comparison to conventional fuels, Autogas fuels are a great way to reduce not only costs, but also their carbon footprint. Extensive existing infrastructure, plentiful supply and serious cost- and carbon-cutting potential mean LPG is positioned as the ideal interim fuel in the move away from petrol and diesel, and towards Net Zero.


Transport and the benefits of LNG 

Other substitutes for fuel that offer even greater reductions in CO2 emissions is LNG. As the cleanest burning fossil fuel available, LNG (liquefied natural gas) has quickly become the world’s fastest growing gas supply source.[4] As well as being highly efficient, it emits significantly fewer pollutants and offers CO2 savings of 20% compared to diesel, making it ideal for businesses who own large truck fleets and need to adhere to stringent air pollution controls. [5] Bio-LNG takes this one step further, offering CO2 savings of over 80%.[6] Also known as liquefied biomethane, Bio-LNG is a renewable fuel that’s created during the break down of organic matter, meaning it can be produced anywhere anaerobic digestion occurs (AD).

For more information on how LPG, LNG or Bio-LNG could help you contribute to a cleaner future for transport, visit LPG suppliers, Flogas.

[1] https://www.wlpga.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Autogas-Vehicles-Catalogue-2018.pdf

[2] https://instavolt.co.uk/aa-says-youngsters-most-likely-to-own-an-ev

[3] https://www.drivelpg.co.uk/about-autogas/

[4] https://www.shell.com/promos/overview-shell-lng-2019/_jcr_content.stream/1551087443922/1f9dc66cfc0e3083b3fe3d07864b2d0703a25fc4/lng-outlook-feb25.pdf

[5] https://www.ngva.eu/medias/natural-gas-a-solution-for-a-clean-and-decarbonized-transport-system/

[6]Transport applications; compared to conventional diesel engines (source: NGVA)

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