Why Autogas Refueling and Why Now?

By Crystelle Markley…
Propane aUTOGAS REFUELING is becoming most popular option among fleet owners Superior Energy Crystelle Markley tells BPN the propane industry leading source for news since 1939
Installing and using autogas refueling infrastructure is simple and easy for both the supplier and end user. Fleets appreciate the advancements in infrastructure equipment, which also make lighter work for you, the marketer. An advanced autogas dispenser has the ability to be installed and function just like a gasoline or diesel dispenser, which helps drivers transition easily. The necessary equipment doesn’t require excessive space; the average footprint of an autogas refueling station is 300 square feet. In addition, autogas dispensing is a closed-loop system and new technology allows for almost zero fugitive emissions, eliminating additional safety concerns. The dispensers require minimal maintenance and with little training, can typically be handled by the fleet.

But that’s just the beginning of the advantages for propane marketers. Consider the following:

Intelligence. There are advanced autogas dispensers that are fully integrated and customizable web-based units. These dispensers track key data like driver and vehicle identification, vehicle mileage, and gallons pumped for a virtually unlimited number of vehicles, drivers, and customers. All fleet information can be accessed by the supplier and fleet in real time, and they have the ability to create customizable reports, without the need to purchase and install separate technology. The dispenser software can be updated remotely, through a cloud-based management system, removing the need for multiple site visits and ensuring the most up-to-date technology. Gallon accuracy is precise thanks to internal mass flow meters, which are standard on all Superior Energy Systems dispensers. Propane aUTOGAS REFUELING popular choice among fleet owners with lowest cost of operation and near zero emissions Crystelle Markley tells BPN the propane industrys leading source for news since 1939
Propane aUTOGAS fleet vehicle REFUELING is leading choice Superior Energy Markley tells BPN the propane industry leading source for news since 1939
Advancements in code. We continue to see regulation and code advancements in autogas technology, like the recent move by NFPA 58 that now mandates the K-15, quick-connect style inlet on vehicles as an industry standard. The K-15 nozzle allows for nearly zero escaped emissions at release and is extremely user-friendly—similar to a gasoline or diesel dispenser. The new nozzle technology also eliminates the requirement for personal protection equipment (PPE). The advancements and adaptations being made for public refueling are making it easier for suppliers to offer autogas, and easier for local fleets to refuel their vehicles.

Plentiful supply. If you’re seriously considering adding autogas to your business, you are likely looking for a non-seasonal segment to diversify your business. Although our industry has faced past challenges with supply, an increase in midstream storage throughout the country has abetted propane suppliers, specifically in the Midwest and Northeast, where winter weather has greater effect. Over the past five years, Superior Energy Systems alone has constructed or expanded over 15 propane terminals. These terminals offer assurance to both suppliers and end users that autogas will remain plentiful and at a stable price, regardless of location or season.

FLEET REFUELING OPTIONS
Centralized, on-site refueling. When space allows, many fleets opt to install an on-site refueling station. With this option, the fuel is delivered straight to the fleet by your company. Oftentimes, fleets will work with you to negotiate a contract to buy fuel in bulk, in order to save money on fuel costs. On-site refueling includes large-capacity fuel storage tank(s) equipped with a pump, meter, and one or more refueling dispensers. As a fleet expands, the infrastructure can easily accommodate a growing number of vehicles with no electrical or site upgrades. On-site refueling is also a great option for marketers that decide to install refueling at their location, in order to fuel their own vehicles as well as open the station to local fleets.

On-site refueling configurations. A large fleet of 50 vehicles or more will generally opt for an advanced private station which includes a high-capacity tank, optional canopy, and multiple fuel dispensers. The infrastructure is owned by either the fleet or your company. If a fleet chooses not to own the infrastructure, they are generally only responsible for site preparation costs involved with the installation. A fleet with fewer than 50 vehicles will generally choose to install a standard private station that would include a smaller, 1000- to 3000-gal. tank and a single autogas fuel dispenser. Again, the infrastructure is owned by either the fleet or your company. Additional upgrades for on-site stations include lighting, weather protection, credit card reader/printer, and multiple fueling hoses.

Temporary refueling. If a fleet is in the process of procuring permanent refueling infrastructure, a temporary refueling setup can help during the transition period. This setup includes a dispenser, pump, and fuel storage tank mounted on a trailer and owned by you; it can be utilized for any necessary amount of time.

Mobile refueling. For fleets that are just getting started with autogas, but not ready to purchase their own infrastructure, mobile refueling can be a practical, temporary solution. With mobile refueling, your bobtail will refuel vehicles at a designated fleet location. This can be a more costly solution for fleets, dependent on several factors.

The key for marketers, as Propane Education & Research Council president and CEO Tucker Perkins noted on pp. 37-39, is the importance of business diversification. With advances in autogas refueling, there really isn’t an excuse to not at least investigate the possibility of offering an autogas option for your local fleets, like paratransit, delivery vehicles, and school buses.

Crystelle Markley is marketing director for Superior Energy Systems. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..