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Old 11-16-2012   #11
San Jose, CA, California
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 432
How much do they cost?

Who found a number on price?

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Old 11-16-2012   #12
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,928
Hey Rich,

How much propane would it take to push a raft the last 20 miles in Cataract or something similar?

I personally hate carrying gasoline. Its horrible for the environment when spilled (we spills millions of gallons a year as Americans), from what I understand its more volatile, isn't as physically stable for storage (I can store propane for ages compared to gas) and requires greater care in storage.

Given the chance I would prefer to start with a propane engine if its fuel consumption is manageable. I currently lack an outboard but I am looking for one for shorter trips, like I mentioned with Cataract or the lake section of the Owyhee.

Thoughts? This idea is intriguing to me.


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Old 11-16-2012   #13
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 748
I searched for it and it looks like you can get them for just under $1k for the 2.5 hp and $1.5k for the 5 hp.

I have been looking for a motor for a while - mostly for cataract trips - and I have the same questions as above. How much propane would it take to get out of cataract?

Also, is 2.5 hp enough power? I have only used a motor once on the river and it was a 15 hp motor on lake powell. We had like 10 rafts and we were flying across the lake, but I am not sure if 2.5 would be enough.

A rafting company I worked for had a propane school bus and I loved it. It worked great until you had to go up hill.
BrianK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012   #14
Carnation, Washington
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 64
wont a propane motor require you to carry alot more weight than gas. Doesn't gas have much higher energy denstiy not to mention a heavy propane tank?

anyone have actual figures?
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Old 11-16-2012   #15
colorado_steve's Avatar
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 284
aren't you suppose to start lpg conversion engines/cars on gasoline and then switch over to lpg once the motor is running? not 100% about this, but might be something to think about
Oh! I don't take it lightly! I've always got to know
There's an old lion a roarin' n the river down below
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Old 11-16-2012   #16
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883
Hi Restrac and Brian,

Too many variables to know for sure. How many boats are you pushing out? What type and configuration of the lash-up? What are the wind conditions? What's the lake level? How fast are you going to try to go? What size motor will you have?

My personal data here is pretty narrow-range. Over the years, I have pushed a lot of strapped-up rafts on the bottom end at Westwater. The one time I did a calculation on it, I figured I was getting about 25 miles per gallon -- often with as many as 3-4 other rafts lashed to my cat. Down at Cat, I once pushed a single 20' Jack's cat from just below the last rapid (#28? #29? at the time) all the way to Hite with a Honda five, and not much wind. Cost me about a gallon and a half of fuel, and that was just one boat -- albeit a big one with a smallish motor.

My personal comfort level to get off Cat would be pretty high if I had a five horse gas four stroke and a three gallon fuel tank. So if you consider that propane is maybe 20-30% less efficient than gas, you're crudely in the range of five gallons of propane to have a safe margin -- again with a lot of recalibration for all the factors I mentioned up above.

That hardly qualifies as much more than a scientific wild-ass guess. But hopefully the company could provide a prospective customer with some fuel consumption data to start making a real-world estimate.


Rich Phillips
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Old 11-16-2012   #17
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Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 523
I'm not sure of his numbers, but I think RichP is focused on the right question -- efficiency. Not to say that a small sacrifice in efficiency isn't worth the environmental savings, but, basically, it seems these propane outboards cost about the same as the modern 4-stroke outboards and do have a lot of mechanical and environmental advantages, so the question is, how far can one go on a pound of propane vs a gallon of gas and what does that cost? I am intrigued. If anyone has looked into this further, let us know! (Hi Rich!)

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