Newport News Cuts Fuel Costs with Propane Vehicles

Ann Marie Edwards

Converting 22 fleet vehicles to propane autogas will help the City of Newport News save $22,000 annually. The city is one of more than 35 regional fleets participating in the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program (SPADP), which provided funding assistance to help the city switch to autogas.

Conversions of 12 Ford Crown Victorias and 10 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 trucks began in October 2011 and were completed in six weeks. The autogas vehicles have already eliminated more than 6.6 tons of greenhouse gases; and since 98 percent of our nation’s autogas supply is made in America, the city is displacing thousands of gallons of imported oil by utilizing a domestically produced fuel.

“Autogas is a good fit for our fleet,” says Newport News Vehicle Services Director Bob McElheney. “We’re saving on fuel costs, reducing vehicle emissions, the infrastructure cost is lower than for other alternative fuels, and vehicle performance has actually improved. We were fortunate to receive some funding assistance with SPADP. However, because of the significant fuel savings we’re seeing with autogas, we intend to purchase more propane autogas-capable vehicles in the future.”

Alliance AutoGas partner Baker Equipment performed the vehicle conversions for Newport News, and Alliance fueling partner Phillips Energy installed a 1,000 gallon autogas tank with fuel dispenser at the fleet’s home base. The city entered into a fuel contract with Phillips, who implemented the autogas station at no upfront cost and provides year-round fuel supply.

Currently paying less than $2 per gallon for autogas, Newport News is saving a significant amount on fuel costs. Since the 22 vehicles will use approximately 18,000 gallons of autogas each year, the city expects to save about $22,000 annually. City officials were so pleased with the conversion experience and the fuel cost savings that they plan to convert more vehicles in the future.

“We were able to quickly incorporate the autogas vehicles into our fleet and begin experiencing all of the environmental, cost savings and other benefits of autogas,” said McElheney. “We made the right decision to convert our vehicles, and we certainly look forward to doing more in the future.”

Fleet, Propane