Propane vs. Electric Vehicles | Which is Right for You?

A propane autogas technician reviewing information on a computer

Most of us believe that going green is the right thing to do – for our personal health and the health of our planet. Whether for personal or business use, severing the tie with gas and diesel engines has become a hot topic. And while electric vehicles are currently the press’ darling, good press does not always equal good sense.

There are several factors that decision-makers must consider when choosing an alternative fuel source for vehicles. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is popular. This article will introduce otherwise overlooked considerations.

Upfront and Hidden Costs

These costs will vary depending on the size of your fleet and intended usage. Many reference articles are available, but all agree that getting started with propane autogas is considerably cheaper than its electric counterpart. Also, many fleet managers have reported cheaper and more stable propane pricing by securing a fuel contract.


In perfect conditions, the most efficient modern electric vehicles built for personal use can exceed 300 miles on a single charge. The majority advertise a 200-300 mile range. Yet reality begins to creep in when comparing larger delivery or fleet-purposed vehicles. The physical burden of additional curb weight for this size of a vehicle starts to have an impact. Electric fleet vehicles struggle to achieve 150 miles of range between charges, with 120 miles being more common. Contrast that with 300 – 400 miles of range with autogas. Drivers of autogas fleet-purposed vehicles will not experience range anxiety.

Vehicle Uptime

Uptime refers to the amount (or percentage) of time that a vehicle is available to be on the road. Propane autogas is dispensed at a rate of 8-10 gallons per minute. A vehicle running on autogas takes about the same time to fill as gas or diesel. An electric vehicle can top off in as little as twenty minutes but a full charge requires more significant downtime, perhaps even overnight. While either option can service a single vehicle at a time, propane-powered vehicles can be ready to hit the road in five or ten minutes versus the hours required to fully charge an electric vehicle.

The Unspoken Law of Currency

Here, we don’t mean currency as in money. Rather, is your surrounding infrastructure able to meet your current demands? Over 50% of the nation’s charging sites reside in California. The bulk of the rest is concentrated in or near cities. Many fleets and businesses operate in areas that lack the on-demand charging stations necessary to reach their customers or complete their routes. While autogas will require an investment to create a filling station on-site, many of these costs can be transferred or shared. Contact MOPERC to learn more about finding autogas solutions tailored to your needs.

Not all electricity is created equally. The four most popular sources of energy to create electricity are natural gas, petroleum, nuclear and coal. While more sustainable options like hydroelectricity, solar-photovoltaic (PV), wind and biomass, are gaining headway, the sad reality for Missourians is that the bulk of our electricity is generated by coal, the least environmentally friendly of all sources. In fact, 8 out of 10 of Missouri’s largest power plants are fueled by coal. Currently, Missouri uses more coal to create electricity than 49 out of the 50 states ranking only ahead of West Virginia. Find out more by viewing the Missouri State Energy Profile.

Both autogas and electric vehicles offer benefits over their gas and diesel counterparts. Electric vehicle proponents will rightly claim that there are no tailpipe emissions from electric vehicles. While true, the electricity created and transferred to the charging station may not have been created from sustainable sources. Coal, for instance, is frequently used to generate electricity. Not to mention, the battery manufacturing process required for these electric vehicles is very carbon-intensive to include the mining of precious metals. Autogas vehicles have tailpipe emissions primarily composed of hydrogen which is emitted as water vapor.

Autogas has several obvious advantages over electric vehicles. These advantages have led one very visible Missouri resort to select autogas for its fleet. Based on potential savings and the positive impact on our environment, you should consider autogas, too.

Autogas has several obvious advantages over electric vehicles. Based on potential savings and the positive impact on our environment, you should consider autogas, too.