In the future, it is very likely that it will become increasingly expensive to import petroleum. The diminishing available reserves and the increasingly high cost of extraction will make this resource increasingly difficult to access. The development and promotion of innovative and cleaner alternatives is becoming a necessity. Gaseous fuels as well as electricity are among the serious options to be considered.
Gaseous fuels, used as fuels in vehicles, such as LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) are generally less polluting. They are a possible alternative in the medium term even if these fuels are also derived from non-renewable resources.
LPG (in French: GPL, Gaz de Pétrole Liquéfié) is a mixture of propane and butane, two products respectively released during the extraction of natural gas (up to 60%) and refining of petroleum (up to 8%).
In terms of pollution, this fuel emits less particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) than diesel vehicles and less unburned hydrocarbon than petrol.
In terms of CO2 emissions, LPG is close to diesel.
This gas thus combines the advantages of petrol in terms of health and of diesel in terms of greenhouse gases. However, it emits more carbon monoxide (CO) than these two fuels, which requires some caution when using it in poorly ventilated spaces.
Best environmental characteristics of LPG prompted Belgium to promote this fuel through a more attractive rate of excise duty. However, so as not to discriminate between the Member States, the EU regulation insists on minimum rates of excise duty. That is why LPG is subjected to a flat tax that compensates for this lack of excise duty.
This flat tax, the additional cost of installation in vehicles, the low distribution network and the existing restrictions to access some parking areas probably explain the low penetration rate of the fuel. In the past, a bonus was paid for the installation of LPG in a vehicle. This bonus has been replaced by reduction in bill for vehicles with low CO2 emissions.
CNG is the natural gas used in our homes but in its compressed form.
Like the LPG, this gas combines the advantages of petrol in terms of health (low emissions of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx)) and of diesel in terms of greenhouse gases.
Its mass use in the automotive sector is relatively recent. The distribution network is not yet well developed. An alternative is to install a compressor at home to refuel one's vehicle from one's domestic gas installation.