Is your van’s fuel bill out of control? With the rising cost of petrol and diesel, you might be tempted to look for alternative methods of topping up your van. An LPG conversion could cut your cost of filling up by up to 50% – plus make every journey a little bit greener. But is it worth the initial cost?
What’s an LPG van conversion?
Much kinder to your pocket and the environment, there’s much to like about liquid petroleum gas (LPG) for vans. It’s taxed lower than petrol and diesel, meaning you pay less to fill up your tank. Much less
Contrast this to around £1.50 a litre for petrol and diesel, according to our petrol prices tool. This would cost around £140 to fill the same Transit. The potential savings are nothing to be scoffed at.
You can buy LPG across more than 1,250 UK fuel station forecourts. So, you never have to drive far to fuel up. Many are open 24/7 too.
LPG kicks out around 90% less nitrogen oxide (NOx) than diesel. As it produces fewer particulates, it’s better for your engine’s health, our health and our environment.
How much does LPG conversion cost?
Adapting your petrol van to LPG might be on the steep side. We’ve seen prices as low as £1,200 but also as high as £2,000. Much depends on the age of your vehicle.
If you have a relatively new van, its engine might rely on a direct injection system.
Typically, direct injection engines are more fuel efficient. They generate more power and better fuel economy, sometimes from a smaller engine capacity.
But traditional LPG conversion systems aren’t a great fit for modern engines built to withstand tough emissions standards.
The newer the tech, the more expensive the LPG conversion cost might be. This might wipe away any potential savings you'd get from the lower fuel costs.
If you’re considering LPG long-term, call around some LPG converters in advance. DriveLPG has an approved list of installers.
Dutch alternative fuel company Prins, however, does offer LPG systems for modern vans and cars.
Is it worth converting my van to LPG?
If you're in it purely for the savings on fuel costs, switching to LPG could be worth considering. Given that fuel duty on LPG is around 32p per kg (roughly 16p per litre) compared to 58p per litre of petrol or diesel, you can quickly see the potential savings.
As for safety, independent tests show that LPG is at least as safe in a crash as a petrol vehicle.
That’s partly because LPG containers tend to be made of thick-gauge material. This rigidity is important in the event of a crash.
If you drive in or around London, watch out for congestion charges. If your petrol van meets Transport for London’s (TfL) Euro 4 emissions standards then it should be compliant with the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). You can check on the TfL website.
For diesel vans you must meet the Euro 6 standard TfL. There are retrofit options through the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme.
Since 25 October 2021, TfL’s cleaner vehicle discount changed so that only battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are eligible. And from 25 December 2025, this discount evaporates too.
What are the drawbacks of an LPG van conversion?
LPG isn’t as fuel efficient as diesel or petrol. You might see a 15-20% rise in fuel consumption as a result. That means there’s less range running on LPG only – though with two fuel tanks you’ve got more range overall.
But LPG’s per litre cost saving means you’re still likely to be way ahead than with a petrol or diesel model.
An LPG tank also needs an annual check-up to make sure it's running smoothly.
Depending on where you live, you might find that compatible filling stations are a bit more scarce. But if you plan ahead a bit you should be fine.
One LPG downer that doesn’t get much attention is van choice. A lack of demand for non-diesel vans means a somewhat sparse model menu, particularly when buying new.
It’s a bit of a vicious circle – the lack of supply means a lack of demand.
But as we get nearer a net-zero world, it could be that cleaner-burning LPG becomes part of the used van market for some time.
There’s one more downside. For health and safety reasons, LPG-equipped and dual-fuel vehicles aren’t allowed in the Channel Tunnel.
What are the pros and cons of an LPG van conversion?
- Cheaper running costs due to lower fuel duty
- Better for the environment than petrol and diesel due to lower NOx emissions
- Negligible difference in performance compared to other fuel types
- Potential van tax reduction as an alternative-fuelled vehicle
- Residual value could be strong, especially in areas affected by congestion charging
It could take at least 18-24 months to recoup the cost of installation
LPG conversion adds weight to your van, which could compromise on fuel efficiency
Less availability to refuel compared to petrol and diesel
An LPG system needs annual servicing checks.
If you have a newer van, the cost to install LPG could be quite high
Does an LPG conversion affect my van insurance?
If you convert your van to LPG you must tell your van insurance provider. That’s because any conversion could be classed as a modification.
And van modifications could see your van insurance costs go up.
Once your van’s converted it’s placed on the Liquid Gas UK Vehicle Register. This helps to protect its resale value.
Being eco-conscious on the road usually means driving in a more defensive, measured manner. So, environmentally-minded drivers could be thought of as a lower risk, which could result in lower insurance costs.
It's worth speaking to your insurer beforehand to see if converting to LPG might impact your policy. And if your costs go up, it’s worth shopping around for an policy that suits your needs and your wallet. If you're looking for other ways to cut your van insurance costs, check out our guide on how to save on your van insurance.
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