Thursday, September 19, 2013

Electric, Diesel or LPG? Which is right for my business? by Mark Enright

Fuel prices are on the rise and show no signs of slowing down. High prices for fuel can cut into profits and be the point that tips a business from profit into loss. 

Luckily there are now other types of fuel available which can save your company money as well as being more environmentally friendly - great for reducing your carbon footprint!

With a wealth of options available on the market nowadays, you need to know the information about these different fuel types in order to choose the right fit for your business. The options available for you are diesel, electric or liquid petroleum gas.

Here are the benefits and drawbacks of each type of fuel:



* A diesel engine can maintain full power output at all times. If there is fuel in the tank, then the engine will perform 100% of the time
* Diesel is readily available. This fuel is sold in almost every filling station in the country and can be refilled quickly and easily
* Power output from diesel engines is higher than electric or LPG. Because of this it can be used to pull heavier loads and will excel if it has to pull these loads uphill

Disadvantages :

* Whilst modern day diesel is cleaner than the diesel of yesteryear, it still produces more pollution than electric or LPG
* Diesel doesn’t burn cleanly. This will lead to buildup with your engines and will lead in turn to higher maintenance costs.
* Because diesel doesn’t vapourise, there is a risk from spillages 
* Diesel fumes are toxic. Meaning they can not be operated inside unless the area is appropriately ventilated. 



* Like diesel, LPG provides full power output throughout its operation. 
* LPG is cheaper than diesel, often little more than half the price.
* Exhaust emissions are lower compared to diesel or petrol engines 
* LPG burns cleanly. This means no engine build up, and so, lower maintenance costs
* Because LPG vapourises, there are no risks from spillages
* Low emissions means the vehicles can be used inside and out
* Because the fuel is liquidised gas, there is no risk of fuel theft by syphoning. This means you can leave your vehicles full of fuel over night, saving the effort of having to drain the tanks 


* LPG is a relatively new technology so it isn’t readily available yet. Only some filling stations supply it
* The initial cost of converting your vehicle can be very expensive
* A new fuel tank will have to be installed in the vehicle. This will take up boot space
* There are currently some restrictions on where you can use these vehicles. For example the Eurotunnel does not allow LPG vehicles even if the tank is disconnected 



* Electric vehicles produce no emissions. When recharged with renewable energy, car can be carbon neutral. This makes them ideal for businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
* Electric motors are extremely efficient. They provide enough energy on average to drive around a city
* All it requires to refill the battery is a plug. This means charging is simple and hassle free
* Like LPG, electric doesn’t produce any fumes. Meaning it can be used indoors
* Also like LPG, electric motors operate cleanly. This means no engine build up, and so, lower maintenance costs


* The initial cost of electric vehicles is usually higher than diesel or LPG
* Unlike diesel or LPG, electric motors will lose power as their fuel runs out
* Current batteries only have a lifespan of two to three years. This means the expense of replacing them. However, new technologies will increase the length of battery life
* Power output from electric motors tends to be lower than diesel or LPG, meaning steep gradients may be a problem

As you can see, there are positives and negatives for each type of fuel. Fuel technology is improving all the time, with more efficient and cheaper engines being developed every day. Until a fuel source is discovered which offers all of the benefits of existing varieties and none of the drawbacks,
compromises will have to be made. It is up to you to look at these points and decide which is best for your business. 

This piece was written by Mark Enright, a car enthusiast and writer, an independant car contract hire and leasing company. 

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