The many benefits of a propane powered
forklift vs Diesel
In small warehouses and large distribution centres, at indoor facilities or outdoor sites, the forklift is an essential tool to get the job done. If you’re in the market for a forklift, there are plenty of reasons you should consider choosing a propane model. Propane-powered forklifts, scissor lifts or lift trucks are not only up to heavy lifting in any of these situations, they also have many benefits over diesel-powered models, including lower cost, reduced emissions and greater convenience.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of forklifts powered with propane (also known as liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG) versus those fuelled with diesel.
Propane fuel is consistently less expensive than diesel fuel, resulting in significant reductions in annual operating costs.
For example, recently the retail price of diesel in Canada was about 30 cents a litre more than propane — a spread that’s fairly typical for these two fuels. Just think how that could add up over the course of a year — especially if you’re running more than one forklift.
But the savings potential of propane-fuelled forklifts goes far beyond the day-to-day fuel costs. A propane forklift typically is less expensive to purchase than its diesel-powered counterpart, so you enjoy up-front savings and a lower capital expenditure. The propane model will also provide lower maintenance costs over its lifetime.
With a propane forklift there’s also little risk of running out of fuel, which can mean greater productivity for your operations. Typically, a propane forklift requires one tank per 8-hour shift. The benefit is less disruption to your operations and minimal downtime for staff. When it’s time to refuel, the empty cylinder can be exchanged for a full one quickly and easily.
You have options when it comes to your delivery method. You can schedule propane deliveries according to your business needs, either as a bulk delivery to a tank dispenser on site, or cylinder delivery to secure cages on site.
Of course, safety is paramount when working with any type of fuel, and the propane industry has regulated procedures to ensure your safety. Cylinder suppliers can work with you to identify the best spot at your site for the cylinder cage that’s conveniently located so that it won’t interfere with your workflow. They will also make sure your employees know how to change cylinders safely, as well as inspect the cylinders when they are exchanged.
Diesel tanks add additional complexity with the risk of fuel leaks and refill spills that are costly to clean up.
Many businesses choose propane-fuelled forklifts because they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and have lower carbon content than their diesel-powered counterparts. Not only are they more eco-friendly, they’re also ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Diesel forklifts, on the other hand, are much noisier and emit toxic exhaust. Operating them indoors requires installing additional hardware on the forklifts to make the exhaust safer or a ventilation system at the site. That’s simply not practical for many businesses.
So, whether you need to operate a forklift inside or outside, a propane model is a smart choice. And if you need a machine that can function safely in both types of settings, a propane model is an essential choice.
A powerful solution for your business
You can also be confident that propane-fuelled forklifts offer reliable performance and maintain consistent power. The density of propane, at 105 octane, provides extremely high levels of torque which means they can easily handle full-capacity loads and steep inclines.
While there may be specific situations that are suitable for a diesel-powered forklift, for most operations, propane is the right choice due to cost savings, versatility, low carbon impact and convenience.