Is LPG unsafe compared to diesel/furnace oil (Heating Oil Vs LPG)?

For some reason, people are overly concerned with the safety of Liquefied Petroleum Gas. What is truly remarkable about LPG is that it can be safer than other fuels. It has been used safely in homes, commercial establishments and vehicles for many decades. LPG fuel systems have evolved and continuously improved over that time.

Like all forms of energy, LPG is potentially hazardous if mishandled or misused. There is no denial of the fact that safety is an important issue. Still, it should also be emphasized that it is an environmentally friendly fuel with many social and health-related advantages. Let us take a jibe on some of the essential points necessary for all of us to understand heating oil Vs LPG.

The smell of safety.

LPG has a distinct odour which makes it very easy to detect any possible leaks. Ethyl Mercaptan is added to the gas to make it easier to detect a leak. Ethyl Mercaptan is a clear liquid with a distinct odour.

Ability to dissipate with the slightest movement of air.

Liquified Petroleum Gas is heavier than air and will sink to and collect at the lowest point, but the slightest breeze will move the gas. If vented to the outside atmosphere, LPG will dissipate with the slightest movement of air.

The safe LPG cylinders.

In India, the cylinders are manufactured as per BIS 3196 through manufacturers approved by Chief Controller of Explosives (CCOE) and having BIS License. After that, the cylinders are checked at the LPG Bottling Plants, and only the cylinders that are found to meet BIS standards are filled and checked for quality after filling.

Subsequently, the cylinders are put to statutory testing & painting after every five years. Such testing of cylinders is done through repairers approved by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation.

LPG cylinders requiring repairs are put for Hot Repairs only once in its lifetime as per BIS codes of practice. Each such Hot Repaired cylinder is certified for use and accordingly put into circulation after that.

Flammability limit.

Mixtures of dispersed combustible materials such as gaseous or vaporised fuels and oxygen in the air will burn only if the fuel concentration lies within well-defined lower and upper bounds determined experimentally, referred to as flammability limits or explosive limits.

The below table shows the flammability limit of LPG, Diesel Oil and Furnace Oil:

Fuel TypeLower flammability limit by volume of fuel in the air.Upper flammability limit by volume of fuel in the air.
Furnace Oil/Fuel Oil1.0%5.0%

Lower flammability limit of Liquified Petroleum Gas is higher than both the commonly used liquid fuels.

Autoignition temperature.

The autoignition temperature or kindling point of a substance is the lowest temperature in which it spontaneously ignites in a typical atmosphere without an external source of ignition, such as a flame or spark.

The below table shows the auto-ignition temperature of LPG, Diesel Oil and Furnace Oil:

Fuel TypeAutoignition Temperature
LPG405 °C – 470 °C
Diesel Oil/HSD225 °C – 260 °C
Furnace Oil/Fuel Oil200 °C – 300 °C

Even the autoignition temperature or the lowest temperature in which LP Gas can spontaneously ignite is 405 °C which is almost double the liquid fuel temperature.

The installation adheres to the standards.

IS 6044 Part 1 Liquefied Petroleum Gas Storage Installations – Code of Practice is adopted by Bureau of Indian Standards after the draft finalised by the Gas Cylinders Sectional Committee after the approval by the Mechanical Engineering Divisional Council.

The IS 6044 Part 1 lays down the requirements for the installations of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders for vapour and liquid withdrawal from cylinders, the associated piping and equipment in residential, commercial and industrial premises, where LPG is supplied in cylinders for the consumption.

The standard scope is limited to installation and extends to leak testing, maintenance, and periodic inspection of the LPG installation.

Adhering to IS 6044 Part 1 standards ensure the safety requirement for using LPG as a safe fuel.


With its clean-burning high energy value, LPG gives good flame control, making it one of the safest reliable fuel. It’s easy to store & transport with no spillage, reducing cost significantly. No soot is produced; hence, burners have a longer life, maintenance is low, and corrosion effects are reduced. It avoids scaling effectively & efficiently with direct firing systems as the heat loss is minimal. LPG has an upper hand when comparing Heating Oil Vs LPG. Finally, you will find that LPG is more environmentally friendly than other sources of energy.