Why companies are switching to propane autogas trucks

Why companies are switching to propane autogas trucks for delivery operations

H&S Bakery, a Baltimore-based provider of hearth-baked goods, recently unveiled a fleet of alternatively fueled vehicles powered by propane autogas. “We want our customers and community to know that we are investing in and working hard to meet our sustainability goals,” said Chuck Paterakis, vice president of transportation and logistics for H&S. “With propane autogas, we’re doing that with a domestically produced fuel that lowers emissions across our delivery area.”

Over the next two years, H&S aims to operate about 10 percent of its current 600-vehicle fleet with propane autogas. H&S Bakery and its affiliates are comprised of 14 divisions operating in seven states, with distribution in 23 states and growing.

Funded in part by a Maryland Clean Cities Coalition grant from the Maryland Energy Administration, the autogas fleet at H&S is expected to reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 60%, nitrogen oxide by 20% and greenhouse gases by up to 25% compared to gasoline. Over its lifetime, according to the company, each of H&S Bakery’s ROUSH CleanTech Ford F-59 trucks will eliminate about 117,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions from the company’s carbon footprint.

“We’ve seen increased demand for medium-duty trucks powered by propane autogas,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech, the manufacturer of the autogas fuel system. “Propane autogas provides an economic, environmental and competitive advantage and helps companies like H&S Bakery reduce fuel and maintenance costs.”

Recently as well, ROUSH CleanTech earned California Air Resources Board (CARB) retrofit certification for 2012 to 2015 model year Ford 6.8-liter vehicles, including E-450, F-450, F-550, F-650, F-53 and F-59 units. The vehicles can now be converted to run on propane autogas in all 50 states.

For most fleets considering a switch to alternative fuels, an equally important consideration is the fueling infrastructure. H&S Bakery, for example, worked with propane provider AmeriGas to install a private refueling station that includes an 18,000-gallon underground propane tank.

For most fleets considering a switch to alternative fuels, an equally important consideration is the fueling infrastructure.

Offering one type of solution is Superior Energy Systems. Introduced last by the company is the PRO-Vend 2000. The turnkey unit, which uses a zero emission fuel nozzle and complies with all applicable National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and is also listed by Underwriters Laboratories, can be added to any existing fuel station.

“The PRO-Vend 2000 is fully integrated,” said Mike Walters, vice president of safety and training for Superior Energy Systems. “Everything you need to refuel, track and manage usage, and train drivers is contained within the box. The dispenser’s card-reading unit can be used for public or private stations and no additional wiring or infrastructure is needed. If you have Internet access, you can connect to this system.”

The new PRO-Vend 2000 propane autogas fuel dispenser, accessed by credit card or a unique ID number, features a secure, web-based fuel management system that allows fleets to track driver identification and vehicle mileage, as well as the number of gallons pumped per vehicle. Its self-contained, touchscreen system can be used to access a refueling training video for drivers.

“This dispenser is a game-changer for the autogas industry,” said Steve Krepop, account manager at AmeriGas. “The system is easy to use and there is immense value in having a refueling training video built right in.”

For fleet managers, Superior Energy Systems PRO-Vend 2000 dispensers can be networked and the systems can provide data that can be accessed on any computer with an Internet connection. For management purposes, the fueling solution provides customizable reports, such as vehicle cost per mile analyses on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis.

The benefit, according to Superior Energy, is increased efficiency. For example, one vehicle type can be compared to another in terms of mileage and costs, and for validating alternative fuel selections.

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