The present investigation deals with the electrical response of palladium doped tin oxide, as a means of improving the selectivity for liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in the presence of CO, CH4. The sensor element with the composition of Pd(1.5 wt %) in the base material SnO2 sintered at 800 °C, has shown a high sensitivity towards LPG with a negligible cross interference of CO and CH4 at an operating temperature of 350 °C. This greatly suggests the possibility of utilizing the sensor for the detection of LPG. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies have been carried out to determine the possible chemical species involved in the gas-solid interaction and the enhancing mechanism of the Pd doped SnO2 sensor element, towards LPG sensitivity. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.