Govt. bans use of LPG in vehicles

- Monday, October 21, 2002

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Bolivia's government has banned the use of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in vehicles until it can establish the necessary regulations, according to Alejandro Salinas, of the hydrocarbons regulator.

Bolivia's government subsidizes LPG for the residential market, making it cheaper than gasoline or diesel for vehicle use.

Over the last two years, some vehicle owners - primarily of public transport buses -have used illegal workshops to carry out makeshift LPG conversions to their vehicles, Salinas told BNamericas.

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But the illegal nature of the conversions and the volatile nature of the LPG bottles make this an extremely dangerous activity: although there have been no official reports of LPG explosions in cars, there have been a number of incidents, Salinas said.

The Bolivian hydrocarbons law does make some provisions for the use of LPG in vehicles, but there is no adequate regulation as yet, Salinas said.

The hydrocarbons regulator has pointed out that the best option for vehicles is vehicular natural gas (VNG), which is distributed under a legal, regulated regime and is much safer.

Meanwhile, the regulator will examine the possibility of drawing up rules for LPG vehicle use. LPG is stored at lower pressures than natural gas, and experiments in Russia and Argentina have demonstrated that there are benefits to using LPG in cars, Salinas said.

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