A walk through the massive annual Work Truck Show in Indianapolis in early March gave attendees a chance to discover almost every new development in the work truck world. Alternative fuels received a good deal of competitive spin regarding which fuel delivers the best bang for your buck now and in the future. Many speakers and seminars made their case that electric vehicles are the way of the future—or that clean diesel is the way of the future—the option of propane autogas wasn’t mentioned.

Meanwhile, an ever-growing group of stakeholders representing propane autogas begs to differ. This group, anchored by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), has steadily reserved more floor space at the Work Truck Show and they, too, want their message heard. “Education and awareness continue to be critical,” said Michael Taylor, director of autogas business development at PERC. “Many people are resistant to change, but we have been successful in convincing fleet managers that propane has a short-term return on investment, typically less than two years, and can provide the lowest total cost of ownership over the vehicle life.”

At PERC’s booth at the Work Truck Show, attendees were asked to “pin” their fleet profile—regardless of fuel type—on an in-booth map of the United States. All participants were eligible for prizes and were encouraged to make several “pit stops” throughout the booth to learn more about how propane autogas could help their fleet reach sustainability goals while cutting costs over the lifetime of the vehicle.

Taylor cited “clean diesel” and gasoline as two fuels that fleet managers are reluctant to switch from. “We can show the cost savings and we have numerous testimonials to back us up,” he said. “The environmental concerns remain despite the efforts to position ‘clean diesel’ and gasoline as free of contaminants,” noting that runoff can find its way into soil and water and cause serious contamination. Case studies on fueling with propane can be found at propane.com.

“Electric vehicles will likely find their niche with personal sedans and some Class 1 and 2 vehicles. There will be very limited success for EVs expected to handle significant payload or range. I expect there will continue to be limited additional adoption for electric school buses. Propane makes much more sense.”
On the following pages are some details on other stakeholders promoting propane usage who were at the Work Truck Show.

Superior Energy Systems (SES; Columbia Station, Ohio) displayed a propane autogas dispenser at the Work Truck Show. Having worked exclusively in propane since 1975, the company has sold more than 1100 dispensers to customers in all 50 states and throughout Canada. Projects have ranged from very small dispenser installations to massive midstream infrastructure installations such as the Crestwood Terminal at Montgomery, N.Y., that can fill four transports in 17 minutes.
Several factors are currently helping to make public refueling a reality, including creating an opportunity for autogas customers to no longer be limited to refueling between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., when an attendant is available. Superior and others have been working with the National Propane Gas Association’s Technology, Standards, and Safety Committee (TS&S) to make the K-15 connector safer and ease the requirement for glasses and gloves at refueling sites. “State propane associations in states such as Minnesota are also offering infrastructure rebates to help make public refueling sites available,” said Jim Bunsey, director of operations at SES. “We are getting to the point where a good portion of autogas users can drive up 24/7 and use their credit card to refuel.”

“While more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective, the goal is to make refueling with propane as user-friendly as it is to refuel with motor gas or diesel,” Bunsey said. In addition to the dispenser, Superior displayed a Propane Autogas Evacuation System that simply, safely, and efficiently removes autogas from fleet vehicles for service and maintenance. The system can be used with both liquid and vapor vehicle systems and operates completely on air using a pneumatic pump, with no engine, electricity, or switching of hoses. To see the full article, click here.