In the ongoing conversation about clean transportation, we continue to see pushback from various players on the true value of anything but electric vehicles as the right choice for businesses and schools to green their fleets.
At Roush, we are heavily involved with all emerging clean mobility options from battery electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell, propane, natural gas and a variety of hybrids. From a technical and engineering perspective, we’re in a great position to understand and share the pros and cons of each fuel type.
I can tell you with confidence that the false sweeping statements about propane autogas don’t hold up. With that in mind, I think it’s important to share 12 truths that fleet operators working directly with Class 4 to 7 vehicles should know about propane autogas.
- #1: Propane is affordable. It costs about 50% less than diesel and 40% less than gasoline per gallon.
- #2: Propane loves cold weather. With propane autogas, there is no risk of “gelling” like with diesel.
- #3: Propane vehicles, such as school buses, can have a range of up to 400 miles on a single fueling without sacrificing towing capacity or reliability.
- #4: Propane vehicles fuel up at a similar rate to gasoline and diesel vehicles — about eight gallons per minute.
- #5: Propane is classified as a clean alternative fuel. Propane vehicles reduce smog-producing emissions, virtually eliminate particulate matter and lower nitrogen oxides by 95% compared with diesel.
- #6: Vehicles powered by propane are safe to maintain. In fact, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees recommends replacing diesel-fueled engines with propane-fueled engines to improve the safety of work environments.
- #7: Propane is popular around the world and has staying power. There are currently 27 million propane-powered vehicles operating across the globe.
- #8: Propane vehicles offer the lowest total cost of ownership of any fuel — conventional or alternative.
- #9: The purchase price of a propane vehicle isn’t much higher than a diesel vehicle. The initial additional expense is quickly recuperated through fuel and maintenance savings as well as access to incentive programs including the 2021 infrastructure bill, government grants, VW settlement funding, market-based incentives and alternative fuel tax credits.
- #10: Propane autogas has an established public fueling infrastructure across the country, with fueling stations in every state. Onsite and mobile fueling options are also available at low- and no-cost.
- #11: Finding a technician for propane vehicles is easy. There are more than 750 service centers across the United States and Canada.
- #12: Maintenance teams can easily be trained to work on propane vehicles. Many technicians who work on propane vehicles report a more enjoyable work experience compared with diesel.
I truly believe that most emerging fuel types should and will play a vital role in transforming the future of the transportation landscape and creating energy resiliency. But when we talk about the most important step we can take right now, it’s this: remove as many outdated diesel vehicles from the roads as soon as possible.
Propane can help us take that next step — today. Propane is a readily available, affordable and uncomplicated vehicle fuel solution for today’s economy.
Todd Mouw is executive vice president of sales and marketing of ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of advanced clean vehicle technology. Mouw has more than two decades of experience in the automotive and high-tech industries. As former president of the NTEA Green Truck Association, Mouw helped set standards in the green trucking industry. To learn more, visit ROUSHcleantech.com.