by David Shivers
Propane autogas is increasing in popularity as an alternative fuel for vehicles, especially for business and government fleets, according to Mark Holloway.
Holloway, president of Modern Gas Company of Albany, spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County on July 8 about the benefits of propane use for cars, trucks, and buses.
Holloway said propane provides a 40 percent fuel saving versus gasoline and can earn up to a 50-cent per gallon alternative fuel tax credit. Propane has a 104 octane rating compared to gasoline’s 87. Meanwhile, the horsepower and torque of propane is equal to or greater than that of gasoline.
The propane fuel system is an overlay and doesn’t void any vehicle warranties, Holloway added. It involves installation of tank, computer, and injectors. In a gasoline/propane hybrid, fuel switchover can be accomplished with the simple push of a button.
Among the benefits of propane are lower operating costs, proven performance, fewer emissions, easy on-the-go refueling and less downtime, reduced fuel spills, and an abundant fuel supply that is 90-percent produced in the U.S.
Propane is a safe alternative, Holloway stressed. It is EPA-approved, has a narrower flammability range than compressed natural gas, and propane tanks are more puncture-proof than gasoline tanks. Fuel also costs 40 to 50 percent less than gasoline.
Locally, he said, Merry Acres Landscaping has reported positive returns from its use of propane in eight lawn mowers and one propane-powered truck. Additionally, the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office operates 31 vehicles on propane autogas at a projected savings of $35,000-$40,000 a year. And, Carroll County is expanding the 10 vehicles it has on propane to 48 for an expected yearly fuel savings of $170,000. Modern Gas has had talks with several local agencies, including both the Lee and Dougherty sheriff’s offices, about converting some of their vehicles to propane usage.
Modern Gas will send a conversion team to a location to convert vehicles to a bi-fuel propane system; each car takes about 1.5 days to complete at a cost of approximately $6,000. They will train vehicle operators and fleet managers on-site about the system and safety procedures. The company will also install fueling infrastructure at the location
Propane is proving attractive over diesel for school buses, Holloway said, because of the decrease in emission fumes that can be harmful to children.
Anyone seeking further information can contact Holloway at Modern Gas; David Timmerman, propane sales and marketing; or service manager Bruce Oosterveen. Modern Gas has been in business in Albany since 1954.