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Forklift Fuel Types: Electric, Petrol, LPG, Diesel

Understanding Forklift Fuel Types: Electric, Petrol, LPG, Diesel

Why are there so many fuel options for forklifts?

Forklift’s feature a variety of different options; fuel type, capacity, lift height, mast options and the list goes on. The important thing to remember when you are in the market to purchase a forklift – there are experienced consultants who can help you make the best decision based on your business’ materials handling needs.

This guide will outline the different fuel types available, the purposes for each and their advantages for different applications. Understanding these fundamentals will assist in finding the right forklift for your business and materials handling needs.

Electric Forklifts

Battery Electric

Forklift Battery

Electric powered forklifts are most commonly used for indoor materials handling and ideal for flat, concrete surfaces. The biggest advantage of a battery electric forklift is that it doesn’t burn fossil fuels that create harmful emissions. They are cost effective to run and don’t create noise pollution that can be harmful to operators and others in the immediate workplace.

New technologies being used by manufacturers today has improved in leaps and bound in the last few decades. Forklift batteries use deep cycle charge to suit longer hours of operation, typically covering an 8-9 hour shift. The outright cost for electric materials handling equipment can seem more expensive in comparison to other fuel options. However, it is important to note that the long term costs to maintain and charge a forklift make it the most cost effective fuel option.

 LPG & Petrol Forklifts

Dual Fuel Engine

Dual Fuel Engine Bay

LPG & Petrol powered forklifts, also known as internal combustion forklifts, are better suited to heavier handling and in outdoor areas. Current models utilise technology that is more fuel efficient than in ever before. LPG & Petrol powered units have lower emission rates than forklifts with diesel engines and produce less carbon monoxide. Internal combustion forklifts can be operated for long periods and can be conveniently refuelled when required unlike an electric that requires a charge cycle between uses.

LPG & Petrol powered forklifts are often available with dual fuel capabilities, which gives owners the option to use each fuel type in their forklift. LPG is the most common fuel option used because it can be easily sourced and quickly replaced. Gas cylinders are interchangeable and can be delivered to workplaces on a regular basis. If you don’t have access to onsite refuelling stations LPG may be the best fuel option for you. If you do purchase a forklift with dual fuel capabilities please ensure to inspect & service both fuel delivery systems with every service to maintain the engine and your forklifts performance.

Diesel Forklifts

Powerful Diesel Engine

Forklift Diesel Engine

The major advantage using diesel engines in materials handling is they generate more power. Diesel engines are used in larger forklifts and are most suited in outdoor, rough terrain and large handling applications. The long term costs involved in running diesel forklifts includes fuel and maintenance. Forklifts with diesel engines meet a comprehensive range of industrial applications with heavy handling requirements.

LPG, Petrol & Diesel

Forklifts that use fossil fuels can be used for indoor and container entry handling applications. It is recommended that if you use this type of forklift indoors the area is well ventilated. Ensure that operators and peers onsite are issued with the correct personal protection equipment that minimise risks associated with inhaling hazardous emissions and industrial noise that can affect hearing.

Regular forklifts servicing and daily inspections of fluid levels help reduce the ongoing maintenance costs of owning a forklift. Servicing as per manufacturers specification prevents damage to major components and improves the performance of your forklift over it’s lifetime.


Fuel options in forklifts offer industries a range of options to meet different materials handling applications & convenience for owners. Reputable forklift suppliers will assess your business’ handling and provide tailored solutions specific to your operational needs and application requirements.

Forklifts today are designed to meet a range of industrial & handling applications including cold storage, flame-proof, confined spaces, warehousing to name a few. There is a world of product possibilities and they can be fitted with features specific to your business’.

For fuss free forklift information specific to your business contact an experienced materials handling consultant who can guide you through your options to find a product solution.

Choose from Australia's widest range of forklifts and request a quote or call us on 1300 536 276 to discuss your business requirements.


Ross Grassick

Ross Grassick

Ross founded Lencrow Group with his father back in 1976. Since then Ross has built a nationwide business, pioneered new technology and services in the materials handling industry. Ross is an industry veteran, an advocate for vocational training and a fountain of knowledge on all things mechanical.
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