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Generators: Which fuel type is best?

When buying a generator or power tool from Generator Pro you are faced with 5 main fuel types to choose from: petrol, diesel, natural gas, LPG and solar/electric. It can be incredibly difficult to choose which fuel type is right for you and so to make the step of buying a nice new toy slightly easier, I will take one for the team and compare them for you!

How am I going to compare them?

Good question, seeing as all the products on our website vary slightly, depending on the power output and design of the machine. It wouldn’t be fair to say that ‘x’ fuel will cost you ‘x’ amount to run a generator for an hour. Therefore, I will be comparing the cost of a mega jewel of energy outputted by taking the energy density per litre of fuel and comparing it to the cost of the fuel to purchase. I will then compare the green house gasses created by each fuel to indicate the effect each fuel has on the environment.

5 – Petrol

Now we have gone through the complicated stuff we can start our comparison; so in fifth place and therefore least efficient is petrol. According to the RAC the average price for petrol in the UK is currently 128.84 pence a litre (RAC average fuel prices 16/05/2019). For that money you are only receiving 34.8 MJ energy per litre. Therefore, the cost per mega joule is 3.7p. So petrol is expensive however does that litre of petrol produce much pollution? Unfortunately yes, although better than diesel, petrol is the second most polluting fuel for your generator.

4 – Diesel

You guessed it, in fourth spot is diesel which is not much more efficient than petrol. Diesel is currently 134.25 pence a litre (RAC) producing 38.6MJ/litre of fuel. This works out at 3.5 pence per mega joule of energy making diesel slightly cheaper than petrol. However, with politicians planning on banning diesel cars, maybe this will change in years to come.

3 – Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

LPG is a mixture of the waste products from natural gas and oil extraction. Therefore it is basically the energy industries equivalent of one of those milk bottle rockets children made. It is also a bi-product of creating methane gas. This ultra efficient fuel costs roughly 2.2p a mega joule meaning that it is making it 37% cheaper than diesel! So, if you are one for the up-cycling and recycling then maybe LPG is the fuel for you. However, the downside of a LPG generator is the large tank that you have to carry around with you making it not as portable as other fuel types.

2 – Natural Gas

Natural gas, so a generator powered on…? No, the simplest way of explaining it is the gas that comes out of the gas pipes at your home. Therefore making natural a very convenient fuel type for backup generators as you don’t have to worry about whether the generator has enough fuel or not. Costing only 1.93p a mega joule, natural gas is a lot cheaper than the 3 fuel types above however it is also the least mobile.

1 – Solar / Electric

As renewable energy sources are becoming more efficient, its becoming harder and harder not to become a big fan. I’m sorry, that was a terrible pun, however it is true. Renewable energy sources release no green house gases, can be completely silent and they harness free energy! Here at Generator Pro we sell a range of 240 volt battery packs which can be charged using either solar power or a standard 3 pin plug socket. Of course, electrical power from the plug is more expensive than solar power. It is still more efficient than diesel or petrol.

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