Propane Forklifts aka LPG Forklifts

by Scott McLeod

A List of The Top 10 Disadvantages of Propane Forklifts

Why LPG Forklifts Are The Least Attractive Option For Many Businesses

For years, propane forklifts have been the most common type of forklift operating indoors ( and sometimes outdoors ), but as new technology emerges, LPG forklifts are beginning to lose ground to other fuel types.

Below is a list of the top 10 disadvantages associated with operating propane forklifts.

  1. Businesses that do not have adequate ventilation may find that the emissions associated with operating properly tuned and emissions equipped propane forklifts will cause them to exceed acceptable limits. Even with acceptable facility ventilation, LPG forklifts can still produce emissions that may cause employees to experience headaches and other associated side effects because, for example, older propane forklifts that do not have the latest emissions control equipment, or where they have been improperly tuned due to neglect, may produce emissions far above acceptable standards even though the building itself has adequate air flow. You will never know for sure how your business stands in the area of air quality until you test the air in all areas of your facility.
  2. Propane forklifts are very energy inefficient and therefore do the worst job of converting a measure of fuel into consumable energy. For those people that are environmentally conscious and concerned about operating costs, this is a very important issue.Propane Forklift
  3. LPG forklifts typically have the highest maintenance costs per operating hour when compared with electric or diesel fueled options.
  4. Hazardous fuel in the form of small propane cylinders or a bulk fuel tank must be stored on-site compared with less hazardous diesel fuel tanks. Storing hazardous fuel on-site may affect insurance premiums. There is also a greater chance of a fuel line leak with older propane forklifts. Due to the nature of liquid propane gas ( LPG ), leaked fuel will have a tendency to gather rather than disperse which increases the chances of an explosion if ignited.
  5. Rear visibility is often restricted with propane forklifts due to the location of the propane cylinder that is almost always located on top of the rear counterweight.
  6. Propane forklifts are noisy and contribute to a less than desirable work environment which may affect employee morale and productivity.
  7. Expect less economic life from a propane forklift due to the added wear and tear on the engine and related components due to the way LPG fuel burns resulting in a higher average engine RPM over it’s useful life.
  8. Changing LPG fuel tanks are difficult because they are heavy and must be changed approximately every six hours of lift truck operation. Handling these cylinders improperly may contribute to workplace injury and result in a higher number of WorkSafeBC claims. A bulk fuel station will eliminate this issue but most businesses can’t justify this option when they have only a few forklifts.
  9. Propane fuel regulators have been known to freeze when a lift truck has been sitting for a period of time in temperatures below freezing. In general, the performance and reliability of most propane forklifts, operating in very cold temperatures, will be less than acceptable.
  10. Propane forklifts have less low end torque ( power ) and due to the nature of how they operate, they will likely move less goods per hour than both electric and diesel fueled options.

Posted in: Propane Forklifts