Alliance AutoGas Gets ‘Protect & Save’ Certs

Alliance AutoGas has received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their bi-fuel police vehicles that can run using propane autogas or conventional gasoline. The certifications cover the following vehicles: Ford Taurus Interceptor 3.5L (2015, 2014, 2013), Ford Explorer Interceptor 3.5L & 3.7L (2016, 2015, 2014, 2013), Dodge Charger 3.6L (2015) and Dodge Charger 5.7 HEMI (2015, 2014, 2013). The company said of specific interest to U.S. Law Enforcement fleets are the certifications of the, Explorer Police Interceptor, the Taurus Police Interceptor, and the Charger Pursuit.

AllianceAutoGasThese platforms are being offered with Alliance’s exclusive plug and play technology. This technology allows for consistent OEM quality installs in a matter of hours. Certifications are secured by Blossman Services Inc. (BSI), the equipment distributor for Alliance AutoGas. BSI is the exclusive United States distributor and the Manufacturer of Record (MOR) for EPA and CARB certifications on behalf of Alliance AutoGas and its members.

Alliance AutoGas said they offer the only comprehensive conversion program in the United States and assist companies in determining if propane autogas is right for their fleet. From there they convert existing vehicles — without voiding any warranties. The state-of-the-art conversions are EPA-certified, to ensure safety and maximum efficiency, and performed for zero upfront cost. In addition, Alliance builds the fueling station wherever the fleet is based at no upfront cost and provides a guaranteed fuel supply going forward. Refueling infrastructure, said Alliance, is considerably cheaper than any other fuel source and scalable, growing with a fleet.

Broward Schools Finds Success with Propane

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has seen success since changing its bus fleet to run on propane autogas. Analysis has found that the Student Transportation and Fleet Services Department reduced its annual operating costs more than $600,000. BCPS began using 98 of the propane autogas fueled school buses, made by Blue Bird, in the 2014/15 school year.

“Providing safe and efficient transportation for our students is always our priority,” said Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie. “The fuel and maintenance savings from our buses using propane autogas has allowed us to reduce our expenses for transporting students to and from school.”

gI_85828_Broward County Schools Propane BusThe analysis found that the district paid an average of $1.32 per gallon for propane and $2.75 for diesel over the last year. In addition to fuel savings, annual maintenance costs for the alternatively fueled buses amounted to 80 percent less than for their diesel buses.

The sixth largest school system in the nation, BCPS operates 1,269 school buses, including the 98 fueled by propane autogas. Each bus travels an average of 16,500 miles per year, transporting approximately 75,000 students. BCPS expects to save more than $74,000 in operating costs over the 12-year lifecycle of each propane autogas bus, which equates to about 38 cents per mile savings.

“After researching the direction of school bus transportation, we decided propane was the best fit and the best use of taxpayer dollars,” said Patricia Snell, director of student transportation and fleet services for BCPS. “We’ve been thrilled with the savings, as well as the performance of the buses.”

BCPS budgeted for a six-month return on investment of the initial propane engine upcharge, but according to the analysis, recouped that cost in three months. The Blue Bird Propane Vision buses had an incremental cost of less than 3 percent more than their diesel counterparts. The school district has ordered 37 additional propane autogas buses for the 2015/16 school year.

Propane Autogas Revs Up the FS System

fs-growmarkBusinesses and organizations are recognizing the benefits of switching from gasoline or diesel fuel to propane autogas.

The GROWMARK FS System is enjoying the benefits firsthand through the use of propane powered vehicles and supplying and servicing customers such as school districts and municipalities.

fs-propane-truckBecky Borkgren, GROWMARK’s Propane marketing and technical services manager, is a vocal advocate in her new propane powered pickup truck. “I love this truck. It is bi-fuel and is equipped to run on gasoline or propane,” said Borkgren. “We worked with Hendrix Industrial Gastrux located in Wauconda, IL to install an Icom North America liquid injection system. It’s all “plug and play,” meaning this system eliminates “splicing and dicing” of parts and minimizes the risk of errors.”

The industry refers to overall savings as “total cost of ownership” because fuel expense is only one component affecting the bottom line. Savings can be attributed to less fuel consumed, less maintenance, reduced oil consumption, less electricity to plug in diesel engines, and no diesel exhaust fluid.

Visit www.fspropane.com to learn more about the FS System and Propane Autogas.

DeKalb County Adopts Propane Buses

DeKalb County Central United School District (Indiana) is adding three new school buses powered by propane autogas for the upcoming school year. The largest school district in the state, the Blue Bird Propane Vision buses are equipped with a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system and were purchased from MacAllister Bus Sales.

DeKalb Central United Schools, DeKalb County’s largest school district, will replace 12-year-old diesel buses with new Blue Bird Propane Vision buses

DeKalb Central United Schools, DeKalb County’s largest school district, will replace 12-year-old diesel buses with new Blue Bird Propane Vision buses

“Encouraging intentional innovation is one of our key priority areas of our district’s strategic plan. In a time of diminishing resources, we strive to be as innovative and energy efficient as possible,” shared DeKalb Central Superintendent Dr. Sherry Grate. “After researching the data regarding the incorporation of propane autogas fueled school buses in to our fleet, a very deliberate decision was made to pursue this opportunity.”

Grate said cutting greenhouse gas emissions, a cleaner riding environment for students, and reduced maintenance costs for each unit, were reasons cited for the purchase of the propane autogas buses. Also a factor was that on average, autogas costs up to 50 percent less than diesel fuel and the buses will start up in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees. Keeping children’s safety in mind, Grate noted the buses are quieter and have less of an impact on neighborhoods.

Trey Jenkins, vice president of alternative fuels for Blue Bird Corporation, added, “As the leader in propane, Blue Bird is committed to providing school districts with a reliable, innovative and proven technology that is favorable to a district’s bottom line. Like many districts, DeKalb Central United Schools did the research and realized that propane autogas is the best choice for reducing fuel and maintenance costs while providing cleaner air for the community. This is a great decision by DeKalb Central United Schools.”

Icom Adds New Propane Vehicles to Lineup

001-2016-ford-police-interceptor-utility-1Icom North America, based in New Hudson, Michigan, has added several new propane powered vehicles to its offering. Customers can now purchase 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016 3.7 engine Ford Police Sport Utility, Police Sedan, Explorer, Taurus, Edge, Flex and Lincoln MKT, MKS and MKX. These fleet platforms are focused on police, government and livery vehicles and Icom said using propane reduces fuel costs and offers a more sustainable transportation option.

Ed Zoglman Icom V.P. Central Division, said, “Icom enjoys a large Police, Government Fleet and Livery market and Icom is the first to certify these key vehicle platforms for which we have a large order-bank.”

“I drive many thousands of miles each month in an Icom Liquid Injection System SUV and enjoy noticeable increased performance and miles per gallon as compared to propane vapor injection kits and performance exceeding gasoline,” noted David Griffin Icom Southeast autogas specialist. “Having been a Propane Fleet Manager and Technician for almost 20 years what most impressed me about the Icom System are the many benefits of Liquid Injection and how Plug and Play the Icom Systems are.”

Icom is anticipating additional EPA Certifications for additioanl fleet platforms powered by liquid injection propane systems.

Propane Holds Forum for School Transportation

propane-busAt this year’s STN Expo in Reno, Nevada, the Propane Education & Research Council is providing school transportation professionals with the information they need to build the business case for clean, American propane autogas.

“Propane autogas continues to gain traction as the leading alternative fuel in the school bus industry,” said Michael Taylor, PERC director of autogas business development. “Reinforced by the availability of propane autogas options from four major manufacturers, we’re finding that an increasing number of transportation directors have questions about adopting the fuel.”

Currently, Blue Bird, Collins, IC Bus, and Thomas Built each offer propane-autogas-powered school bus options. “We’re exhibiting at STN Expo this year to help school bus fleets and private contractors understand why propane autogas has passed the test for districts around the country: it’s clean, safe, and provides a lower total cost of ownership compared with diesel,” said Taylor.

The Expo is being held this week through July 19 at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. Expo attendees are invited to stop by the PERC booth to talk with propane industry experts, and get answers to their questions about the fuel. Show attendees will also be able to see propane autogas refueling dispensers and learn more about the growing number of propane-autogas-powered school bus options.

Alliance Autogas Obtains first EPA certification

AllianceAutoGasAlliance Autogas has obtained the first EPA certification for the new Ford Transit.

“Our order queue has been off the charts even when the certification was pending,” notes Ed Hoffman, president of Blossman Services. “The Ford Transit 3.7L Bi-Fuel autogas system conversion by far and away, is Alliances’ largest and most popular platform yet. The number of conversion requests exponentially exceed all prior platform conversion requests we’ve ever seen,” add Hoffman.

The Bi-Fuel system conversion on the Transit is precedent-setting in that no intake manifold drilling, cutting, or splicing of wiring is required. The Ford Transit is the first engine to employ the “Plug and Play” technology, reducing installation time in half, and ensuring consistent performance.

Significant fuel cost savings of 35% or more are achieved without buying a new vehicle. The Bi-Fuel autogas system allows a fleet owner to operate wherever the fleet needs to be and eliminates range anxiety. Multiple tank options are available to meet all range requirements.

The Transit conversion is backed by the Alliance AutoGas 5-year,100,000 mile warranty. New conversions additionally come with the ultra-low emissions Staubli refueling nozzle, the safest and most efficient in the market.

GROWMARK FS Joins Propane Days at Capital

NPGAMembers of the GROWMARK and FS System were recent participants in the National Propane Gas Association’s (NPGA) 2015 Propane Days at the nation’s capital. This news release says the members were educated regarding affairs and legislation that affects the propane industry and how to be actively involved in its development.

“The Propane Days conference was a great opportunity to work with dedicated FS and GROWMARK experts as well as the Illinois Propane Gas Association. It was a privilege to work together and with our legislators toward the common goal of promoting propane as a clean, alternative fuel of choice,” explained Kevin Johnson, energy specialist with Heritage FS, Inc.

Attendees had the opportunity visit with their Congressional representatives to encourage the extension of key tax provisions, equalization of taxes on propane, and parity of propane relative to other auto fuels. The event also provided networking opportunities with other industry colleagues throughout the nation and a discussion with PERC staff to learn more about the national Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) efforts.

“I feel the Congressional visits will reward the industry for years to come. The visit to PERC was such an eye opening experience which yielded great information. I can’t wait to share my new found knowledge with my team back home,” said Chris Olson, LP and retail marketing manager with Illini FS.

PERC Promotes Alt Fuels for Emergency Vehicles

PERCThe Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has joined a national task force promoting the use of alternative fuel in emergency vehicles. PERC says the task force has a two-year program to educate emergency managers about alternative fuels.

The Initiative for Resiliency in Energy through Vehicles is one of 11 projects funded by the Department of Energy Clean Cities program to accelerate the growth of the alternative fuel vehicles market. The National Association of State Energy Officials was awarded $800,000 in grant funds to administer the project. PERC will work with NASEO and 17 other member groups to provide emergency fleet managers with customized tools, information, and strategies about alternative fuel vehicle technologies, infrastructure, and their uses in emergency scenarios.

The task force’s resources will help emergency managers examine the potential costs, benefits, and interdepencies associated with diversifying their fleets, reducing dependence on petroleum, and increasing their energy security.

“Alternative fuels are very important for the emergency response sector,” said Roy Willis, PERC president and CEO. “Diversifying a fleet’s fuel source insulates it from petroleum market volatility and mitigates the impact of supply disruptions. It’s all about ensuring that priority fuel users can continue to operate in the face of natural disasters, major fuel source disruptions, and extreme weather events.”

PERC has been a heavy investor in the creation of propane-powered technologies, and that has led to a dramatic expansion in the types of available propane vehicles, including those used by emergency response fleets.

SMART Adds Propane AutoGas

SMART has added 61 new Connector paratransit propane autogas fuel system buses. This, says SMART, makes them the second largest propane autogas powered paratransit fleet in Michigan and one of the top five largest in the country.

“SMART is committed to responsibly and eco-consciously serving the communities in southeast Michigan. By using domestically produced propane we help support local jobs and our economy,” said John C. Hertel, IMG_4653general manager. “In addition, using the autogas technology will improve our operations, lower costs and preserve the environment in which we work, live and play.”

SMART says the propane autogas investment will reduce emissions, save money, and extend the life of the vehicles. The total fuel and maintenance savings is projected to be $1.1 – $1.7 million over the lifetime of the fleet with a return on investment of less than four months. In addition, SMART says the cost of building on-site refueling stations at each of its three terminals was determined to be less expensive than other refueling station options. The vehicles and propane stations are grant funded.

“Residents in Southeast Michigan are breathing easier due to SMART’s decision to fuel paratransit buses with propane autogas,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech, whose company did the propane autogas conversions. “Plus, this abundant alternative transportation fuel means reduced operating and ownership costs for the transit agency.”

Delivery of all 61 SMART Connector autogas vehicles has been on-going since February and to date 14 vehicles have been placed into service. The full fleet is expected to be in service by the end of July.