A recent study by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) found that if a select 10% of the U.S. commercial fleet vehicle population switched to propane, the country could displace nearly 1 billion gallons of gasoline annually by 2017.
The study was commissioned by PERC to help policymakers and commercial fleet managers understand the role that existing alternative fuel sources, such as propane, can play in helping the nation achieve energy independence while reducing emissions. The study examined the 86-million trucks on the roads in the United States and determined that if fleet owners switched 4.5 million of the vehicles to propane, more than 830-million gallons of gasoline could be displaced by 2017.
Conducted by Energy and Environmental Analysis, Inc. (an ICF International Company) of Arlington, Virginia, the study focused on commercial fleets consisting of six or more vehicles that operate within a 100-mile radius.
“To succeed, any plan to reduce gasoline consumption at the levels Congress and the administration are proposing must include both renewable and alternative fuels, as well as efficiency measures,” said Roy Willis, president and CEO of PERC. “One proven alternative fuel option that is both domestic and available today is propane.”
Readily available propane gas and propane-powered vehicles are a cost-effective and environmentally friendly fuel with a proven record of success with more than 10-million vehicles operating worldwide.
Compared to gasoline, propane produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and cuts emissions of toxins and carcinogens by up to 96%. Operating costs are up to 30% lower than conventional or reformulated gasoline. Propane infrastructure costs are minimal compared to other alternative fuels, with fuel dispensers placed directly onsite at a fleet location.
Most importantly, there are new commercially available vehicles that run on propane. They do not require any additional conversion costs, and they are fully warranted by their respective manufacturer. In the past year, the propane industry has worked with its partners to introduce three new vehicles for fleet applications: the Roush F-150 truck, the propane-powered Vision school bus from Blue Bird Corporation and a GM 8.1L engine.
Introduced in April 2007, the Roush F-150 is the first dedicated propane-powered truck using an advanced liquid propane injection (LPI) system. The Roush F-150 LPI is designed and manufactured to operate solely on propane while providing the same horsepower, torque and drivability of an F-150 equipped with a gasoline-powered 5.4L, three-valve Triton V8 engine.
The propane-powered Vision school bus is the latest offering from Blue Bird Corporation to help school districts meet the challenges of the 2007 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) school-bus engine-emissions requirements. The bus can be used to displace the diesel consumed by more than 617,000 school buses in the United States.
A dedicated propane GM 8.1L platform is also available for medium-duty private commercial fleets, which according to the study, equals more than 2-million trucks. The GM platform can be used for a variety of fleet applications including airport shuttles, municipal transit and package delivery.
“Success in alternative fuel markets requires a keen focus on niche applications where the fuel makes sense,” added Roy Willis. “These new propane-powered vehicles give fleet operators an option that reduces emissions, operating costs and our dependency on foreign oil.”
In his January State of the Union address, President Bush challenged Americans to reduce gasoline consumption by 20% over 10 years. That 20% equates to nearly 35-billion gallons of gasoline. Since then, congressional leaders have introduced similar plans in the House and Senate.
To find out more about clean, abundant, domestic propane and propane-powered fleet vehicles, or to compare the cost of propane-powered vehicles to traditional gasoline or diesel vehicles, visit http://www.propanefreedom.com/.
Source: Propane Education & Research Council. (June 7, 2007). “Increased Fleet Use of Propane Can Reduce U.S. Gasoline Consumption by Nearly 1 Billion Gallons, New Study Says.” Propane Education & Research Council press release courtesy of PR Newswire.