HomeMotorhome AdviceMotorhome Gas Options. Is LPG Dead?

Motorhome Gas Options. Is LPG Dead?

Three Options for Motorhome Gas

  • Calor type Bottles that are not user refillable, you exchange them when they are empty. Very often, this is the default for most motorhomes. Either the van already has them or if it’s brand-new it has pipework fitted ready for them. THIS IS WHERE THE REAL SHORTAGE IS. BOTTLES ARE BECOMING HARD TO FIND.
  • Refillable bottles, they look like Calor bottles, but are user refillable? These are the simplest upgrade, the bottles which resemble Calor bottles are refillable and are stored in the original gas locker. Underslung Tanks are a refillable bottle bolted to the underside of the motorhome with an external fill point. REFILLABLE SYSTEMS CAN BE EXPENSIVE TO INSTALL.
  • Do without gas altogether. All electric motorhomes are becoming more popular, while LiFePo4 batteries make this quite viable. Add a diesel heater and people are happily gas free. PLENTY DON’T NEED GAS

Is LPG Disappearing?

In early 2023, a YouTuber with limited knowledge caused panic by spreading false information about the disappearance of Motorhome gas (LPG) in the UK.

He falsely claimed that those with underslung gas tanks would be left without a fuel source. Sadly, other YouTubers also joined in, amplifying this misinformation for views.

However, the underlying message these ‘influencers’ were imparting was not lost on many of us, which was. Gas is going to disappear, so buy this wonderful power supply from JakEcoBlu that I am being paid to wax lyrical about. 🙄

The fallout was swift. Some dealers in the gas space wanted to sue the guy, others fight him or maybe both. He was being alarmist and trashing their livelihood.

Many end users expressed genuine worries about the potential disappearance of gas and the impact it would have on their van and travels.

The influencer took the video down after one day, but a seed was sown. We still regularly get the question on the forum people “Is LPG disappearing?” The short answer; yes plenty of pumps are going, but it’s not a concern at all; read on.

Here is my story. I’ve Flip Flopped on what gas is best.

I’ve used all kinds of Motorhome gas tanks, here is my experience. It will tell you where we’ve been and our solution for now.

Underslung tanks

I was a long time gas bottle user and when my friends were getting underslung tanks fitted.

I was saying “no chance there are not enough filling stations here or abroad.” So I stuck with my bottles for quite a few years.

Then later I bought an RV. It had a massive underslung tank. Looking around I realised getting gas wasn’t a problem.

By then there were plenty of filling stations. Most every motorway service station has a gas pump.

Not only on motorways, gas filling points were popping up at petrol stations and supermarkets everywhere and after a slow start; France, Spain and Portugal suddenly seemingly had gas at every other filling Station too.

Now I was firmly in the underslung tank camp. I loved it; I could keep that tank topped up. Whenever I’d stop for diesel and if there was a gas pump, I’d use it.

Sometimes topping up with less that two quids worth, but I just love that full tanks, ready for anything feeling. I would never go back to bottles . Or would I..

Motorhome Gas via an Underslung Tank Fitted by Autogas 2000
An underslung tank frees up a gas locker and allows you to top up anywhere in Europe with ease.

The Thing About un-fillable Bottles

Gas bottles like Calor can be a pain, do you carry one or two.? If you carry one, what if you run out! Moreover, when embarking on a long trip, the desire to begin with a full bottle may leave us with a dilemma if the one on board is only half full.

Like many of us, I have resorted to swapping it out even when it’s not empty so I start my trip with a full bottle. This, of course, resulting in a backyard filling up with half-full gas bottles.

Then suddenly I was back relying on them. I bought a van that had two 13kg Calor gas bottles. So did I get rush to get an underslung tank right away?

No, things were changing; gas was slowly disappearing from the nations forecourts, people were complaining that their local fill up had disappeared. I thought I’d save my money and stick with the bottles.

I swapped one of the 13’s for a 6 And was happy with that. 13kg as my main and 6kg back up. Yes they can be a pain, but at least they are ubiquitous, available most everywhere and in far more places than refillable gas pumps. There is the problem when abroad, if you run out, you’ll need to buy a local bottle and regulator, but I could live with that.

I used Calor bottles like this for two years, it was OK, I worked hard on using up those half bottles I had lying around. I had to, because Covid had lead to a shortage of bottles and suddenly Calor bottles were getting hard to find. But that would pass with Covid, wouldn’t it?

It got worse

An announcement from Calor that they were discontinuing some smaller bottles and since then, for reasons known only to them, they are just not supplying bottles at the same level as they were pre covid.

It came to a head when we were in the Peak District for a week. I’d left home knowing we needed gas soon, but there were so many campsites and garages on route we would easily pick up a bottle. But it wasn’t to be.

We ran out on Saturday morning and spent the whole afternoon with the Calor distributor map and a phone. In the end we found one bottle of gas, not only was it 35 miles away we paid £50 for it!

Enough! Back to refillable then?

This lack of bottles was annoying, so we looked again at getting an underslung tank. But how bad was the situation for filling them up? We did some research on the forums.

It’s true that lots of forecourts have removed LPG pumps and replaced them with Electrical Charging points, but there are still lots of places to fill up.

You just needed a mindset shift. Keeping your gas tank brimmed is just not viable anymore, but in the month it takes you to use the gas you have you will pass a lot of filling points! So yes Refillable remains much more convenient and there are anough filling points around.

Off to See Charlie

So that is how we found ourselves at Charlie’s place, AKA Autogas 2000.

We had a 30L underslung tank installed, we hedged our bets by keeping the bottle setup in place, but essentially we’ve gained the use of a large locker that used to hold two big bottles of gas and now holds plenty of beer and one woman’s 15 pairs of shoes!

What about Vans with no motorhome gas at all?

The energy provided by a single gas bottle is truly remarkable. Even a small amount of gas can last a significant amount of time. In fact, for a Lithium battery to boil as many kettles as one 13kg bottle of gas you would have to re-charge it well over 100 times!

If a tea addict like me has no gas and only solar to recharge my batteries; then a holiday in Wales would mean cold turkey for my addiction. No way would I ever want to be without gas.  

Motorhome Gas TDLR. Too long Didn’t Read

Bottles are becoming harder to find, finding one right when you need one, is not always possible. You are often heading off with the uncertainty of being half full, not knowing when you are going to run out, you carry extra, if you can find them to buy!

With refillable systems, it’s true there are not enough pumps in the UK to keep the tank topped up like we were used to pre covid. (Different in Europe, LPG is everywhere, refillable and bottle)

However, the truth is, we have plenty of pumps around and that once you’re half full you’ll pass dozens of places, before you need top up. It is quite feasible to have electric only vans, but while gas is around I’ll be sticking with it.

Keep your gas systems but go refillable


Most Popular