New Refueling Infrastructure Installation Video Released by Propane Council

WASHINGTON (APRIL 2, 2020) – The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has released a new online video that gives fleet owners an in-depth look at what happens during the installation of a permanent, on-site propane autogas refueling station.
Propane Council introduces New Propane Autogas Refueling Infrastructure Installation Video for LPG professionals reports BPN the propane industry's leading source for news since 1939The video walks through each step of the process, which includes the installation of a concrete foundation, one or more large capacity fuel tanks, a pump, one or more dispensers with meters, and crash protection.

“Fleets of all sizes are benefitting from their centralized propane autogas refueling station, and this video shows just how easy and convenient it is to get started with the support of their local propane and infrastructure suppliers,” said Steve Whaley, PERC director of autogas business development. “Propane autogas provides fleets with the lowest total cost-of-ownership, and the affordable refueling infrastructure is a big part of how that’s possible.”

While the video demonstrates one example of a large installation, propane autogas refueling infrastructure is customizable and scalable to meet the demands of any size of fleet. Local propane suppliers can help fleets select the right option for their business.

View the new video at Propane.com/Propane-Autogas-Refueling-Options. To learn more about the benefits of propane autogas for vehicle fleets, visit Propane.com/Fleet-Vehicles.
 
About PERC: The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is a nonprofit that provides leading propane safety and training programs and invests in research and development of new propane-powered technologies. PERC is operated and funded by the propane industry. For more information, visit Propane.com. 
 

Autogas: A Prime Choice For Vehicle Fleet Diversification

(March 31, 2020) — By Tucker Perkins… Propane marketers have a unique opportunity their competitors don’t have: customer interaction. Having propane delivered by real people from the community is very different from the customer experience of using natural gas or electricity. Our industry’s fine propane marketers do what they do better than anyone else, but in this age of specialization, it is important to have a function that you excel in.
Propane Autogas Is top choice for vehicle fleet diversification reports BPN the propane industry's leading source for news since 1939. 032020For example, if you sell only to residential customers, do it in a way so that a homeowner would never consider going to another company or another fuel source. Create “Raving Fans,” like Ken Blanchard suggests in his book of the same name, and you’ll always be successful.

DIVERSE CUSTOMERS
Propane marketers also benefit from having a diverse customer base: customers that use gas year-round and aren’t sensitive to degree-days, like home heating. For some, that means finding customers with water heating, cooking, and clothes drying needs, and for others it means supplying propane to an engine, like a forklift or an agriculture engine. These markets offer benefits in supply planning, equipment usage, and reducing the peaks and valleys we all experience with seasonal business.

There’s another way to guarantee year-round customers, and that’s with autogas. You might view autogas with a raised eyebrow, but there are more and more fleet vehicles on the road that are using it, like delivery trucks, transit vehicles, and school buses. Take a look around—they are likely even in your own community.

If you’re not introducing local fleet operators to autogas or currently serving these types of fleets, you’re missing a major business diversification opportunity that’s only going to grow. And, you’ve got your own vehicles that could run on autogas. That’s quite an endorsement for propane—and perhaps the best marketing for your business.

MARKET ENTRY
How does a propane marketer enter the autogas segment? Slowly and cautiously, for sure, incorporating a lot of study. PERC has plenty of information to help you in your adoption and marketing. Propane.com is always a good place to start. If you want to take more steps, consider these three options.

Propane autogas is first choice among vehicle fleet owners mangers reports BPN the lpg industry leading source for news since 1939. 3020201. Target local fleets that are good candidates for propane autogas use. Current commercial customers are a good place to start. Do they drive 20,000+ miles per year; return to base each night; use vehicles that have autogas options like Ford, GM, and Freightliner; and keep those vehicles for about 10 years? Do they need to improve their emission-reducing image? Can they benefit from reducing their fleet costs to be more competitive? Commercial fleets as diverse as pest control to delivery companies are fueling with autogas. Autogas is also operating in thousands of public fleets across the nation, such as transit shuttles, school buses, and police vehicles. Target the local ones in your area.

2. Install an autogas dispenser at your location. This can attract local fleets and other users to your company. The recent federal tax credits available for infrastructure will help with initial cost while driving awareness of your brand and providing incremental gas sales. Once installed, implement marketing tactics to promote it, such as listing your dispenser on local alternative fuel websites and using social media.

3. Consider propane autogas for your own fleet. Crane trucks, service trucks, and bobtails are the typical choices. The obvious reason is cost savings. Autogas is cheaper than diesel or gasoline, the vehicles are simpler to maintain, and the cost per mile is significantly less than diesel or gasoline. There are tremendous benefits to your brand in using a clean fuel in your community as well, particularly when you message the benefits of quiet, clean, and healthier. Choosing propane for your fleet can be hugely beneficial to your brand, your community—and your business’ bottom line.

AUTOGAS BENEFITS
In a world consumed by environmental concern, autogas vehicles offer a rare combination of benefits to user and community. They are quiet, they are inexpensive to buy, operate, and maintain compared to many other choices, and the emissions are often the cleanest of any choice. They are strong and durable, so for fleets that have concerns over payload and range, autogas is the only environmental- and cost-conscious solution that makes sense.

And the autogas engine technology keeps getting better and better. We continue to see great innovation in technology that proves we can be competitive with diesel on durability, and with electricity on emissions. Plus, no fuel offers the entire package that propane can—quiet, capable for range and payload, simple and clean, ideal for all weather conditions, domestically produced, and most importantly, the very best total ownership costs for vehicle, fuel, and infrastructure.

But selling autogas to fleets is no small task. The sales cycle can be long, and you are connected to the fleet for service issues for the life of the vehicle. Enter the market with eyes wide open. Study, and study some more. Study the barriers, too, usually around service and dealer support. Talk to other marketers using or selling autogas, and if you want to know more, contact Steve Whaley, PERC’s director of autogas business development, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re here to help you be successful, both today and well into the future.

PROPANE'S FUTURE
As we study the future of propane and how propane marketers respond, a few major elements stand out. Whatever we do, we must do it well. Generalists will find it hard to prosper, and specialists will be in demand. Marketing is key; know the customer, tell the customer why they should choose you, deliver on that promise, and, like Ken Blanchard says, “create Raving Fans.”

Tucker Perkins is the president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council, based in Washington, D.C.

Then and Now: Autogas Evolution With Propane Industry Trailblazer

(March 26, 2020) — In the late 1980s, Curtis Donaldson (in photo at right) was selling wholesale propane for Conoco in Oklahoma and Missouri when the company decided to begin offering propane at its company-owned gas stations. At that time, President George H. W. Bush had signed the Clean Air Act Amendments and several larger wholesale companies believed selling clean-burning propane was a good plan for a future with more people likely using cleaner fuels. Industry veteran Larry Osgood was at Phillips 66 at the time and that company was also giving strong consideration to installing propane dispensers alongside gasoline dispensers at its company-owned stations. Conoco and Phillips 66, which would later merge into one company, decided to launch an infrastructure program in Denver in the 1990s and Conoco even partnered with Firestone to support making the conversion process simple and seamless.

BPN Then and Now Profiles the Evolution of propane Autogas With LPG Industry trailblazer Curtis Donaldson in March 2020 issue of BPN magazineOther oil companies, large multistate marketers, regional propane marketers, and several smaller retail propane marketers were also taking an interest in propane as a motor fuel by 1991. Propane industry leaders including Donaldson; Osgood; Bob Myers, formerly of Petrolane; Tim and Jay Wood of Northwest Propane (Texas); Gerry Misel of Georgia Gas Distributors (Ga.); Steve Moore of Mutual Propane (Calif.); and Bill Platz of Delta Liquid Energy (Calif.) joined to form the LP Clean Fuels Coalition. The executive director was Rick Roldan, who later became CEO of the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA). This small band of brothers would take on the lobby efforts for the propane industry to promote propane as a clean transportation fuel and try to ensure equality amongst all the alternative fuels vying for market share.

At about the same time, the Department of Energy (DOE) had formed the Clean Cities Coalition, with 91 cities now participating. “The Clean Cities Coalition provided excellent support for our industry, primarily in deployment activities and grants,” Donaldson said. “They were very helpful as we made decisions about how to go after the propane market for motor fuel.” For Donaldson himself, he opted to depart Conoco and launch Clean Fueling Technologies (CFT) in an effort to provide propane dispensers that were seamless to the gasoline counterparts. “I’ll never forget when I started trying to convince the industry we needed to move on from what they themselves would call a meter-on-a-stick dispenser to an electronic gasoline-styled unit.” He thanks early adopters like Moore, Platz, and Wood as they help generate demand and challenge the industry to step up.

“We initially offered a simple electronic fleet unit, but migrated to high-hose style with card reader technology so fleets could self-serve—talk about a giant leap—then integrated propane hydraulics into a Gilbarco OEM gasoline pump for a total seamless operating unit at retail sites,” Donaldson explained. “In those days, there would be trade shows where CFT would be the only company representing propane motor fuel and 50-plus companies focused on the CNG market. All the CNG entities came out of the gate with leading-edge technology. I think not having a history in the engine fuel market benefitted them to some degree…no baggage, if you will. It was overwhelming at times, but we tried to maintain focus on helping our industry jump technology hurdles to remain competitive in the eyes of the fleet customers. Despite the crowd of CNG players, CFT became busy very quickly with a contract to work with Northwest Propane to install 100-plus dispensers for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), which was in the process of converting 5000 of its 10,000 vehicles to propane.”
BPN profiles propane autogas trailblazer curtis Donaldson who discusses the evolution of autogas as fleet fuel of choice March 2020 issue of BPN magazine
While the TxDOT/Northwest Propane project kept CFT busy for several years, the fact that there remained no original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for propane engines in the U.S. continued to limit the demand for vehicles and thus also for dispensers domestically. Donaldson made the decision that CFT would need to expand internationally. “We had to pivot to focus on international markets to stay alive in the mid ’90s,” Donaldson said. “Autogas was doing much better abroad.” In the U.S., CNG was more coordinated and continued to grow.

“In the U.S. in the ’90s, the most progress in growing propane motor fuel actually was accomplished by a Canadian company,” Donaldson said. “Superior Propane, under the leadership of CEO Don Edwards, had added some 2000 fueling stations across Canada and had completed a lot of conversions as well. They decided to enter the U.S. market via acquisition of Skelgas and marketed under the brand of ATFI.” ATFI shared the vision to make autogas seamless to the traditional fuels.

ALONG COMES PERC AND CLEANFUEL USA
With the passage of the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA) in 1997, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) was put in place to begin supporting the growth of the U.S. propane market. “Milford Therell, who led the process of getting PERA passed and [became] the first chairman of PERC, was a supporter of growing the motor fuel market,” Donaldson said. “In the early days of PERC, funds were limited and not all in the industry saw the development of propane as a motor fuel a priority. Many independent retail propane marketers didn’t see value in developing the market, but a handful of independents as well as several multistate marketers, including AmeriGas, Suburban, and Thermogas, began supporting the industry efforts for our fuel to be a player in the alt fuel mix. Also, several state LP-gas associations became very active advocates and they have certainly had a big impact as autogas acceptance spread.”

In 1999, CFT partnered with AmeriGas and a few marketers to launch CleanFUEL USA. “The purpose of CleanFUEL USA was to target fleets and both private and public fueling, a one-stop shop of sorts,” Donaldson explained. “By this time, PERC was rolling along in its second year and my friend Roy Willis, the CEO, certainly saw the impact this market segment could have for the retail propane marketers.”
BPN Then and Now feature profiles Curtis Donaldson propane autogas trailblazer on evolution of clean fuel propane as fleet fuel of choice march 2020 issue of BPN
Nonetheless, there remained those on the Council who did not see the value. “I’ll never forget the project to convert President George W. Bush’s ranch truck to propane, the best project ever,” he said. “I think the PERC vote was like 12 to 9. It always felt like we were pulling the industry along.” Donaldson recalls talking to industry leaders about calling propane motor fuel what his international customers called it, “autogas.” Although they didn’t give the name much credence then, the industry eventually moved that direction a decade later to help gain a bit of a product differential in the marketplace. He also recalls trying to garner support to switch fueling connectors in the late ’90s to the European style given it would be easier for customers to use when refueling. Again there was no buy-in at that time, for a variety of reasons, including lack of manufacturers and fear of not gaining NFPA approvals, but here we are 15 or so years later and it is becoming the fuel nozzle of choice for many fleets and marketers.

Challenges continued as the U.S. market only had conversion kits and no OEMs for propane engines. Warranties were being voided by 2002 if propane conversions took place. “We decided it was time to get into the propane engine business,” Donaldson said. “We talked GM into offering a propane engine program with their Medium Duty G Series MD Trucks. There was demand for a propane-powered bobtail as well as for school buses in Texas. We introduced liquid injection into the USA OEM market by launching the 8.1-liter platform in conjunction with GM, Monroe as upfitter, and 27 GM Medium Duty Truck dealers across the country. The bobtail program launched in 2005 with 300 sold that year and 600 sold in 2006. In addition, PERC funded a $400,000 project to integrate the 8.1-L engine into the Blue Bird School Bus chassis. We sold 50 the first year, which was 2006-1/2, and in the first full year over 300 buses were sold.” School districts in Texas and a few outside that had been using propane through the years were back in business with an OEM product this time.

Just when the autogas movement was starting to feel like it had a tailwind, GM filed bankruptcy in late 2008 during an economic downturn in the U.S. and the medium-duty truck business was shut down. Engines were pre-ordered to carry pending bobtail orders and Blue Bird ordered enough to carry them beyond 2010 when they switched to a Ford product. The engine eventually survived as GM emerged out of bankruptcy and industry advocates approached Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) about continuing the medium-duty truck program on its S2 chassis for bobtails and the C2 chassis for Thomas Built school buses. PERC worked alongside FCCC on these projects as well as others to help get them across the finish line and launched into the marketplace.

The biggest moment, however, was in 2014 when United Parcel Service (UPS) opted to purchase over 1000 propane-powered package cars in its rural market centers. “It was the largest deployment of propane vehicles in history,” Donaldson said. “There were some 1400 units by the end with over 60 fuel stations in eight states. It was a turnkey package with vehicles and stations closely organized and rolled out with plenty of support from propane marketers in each market.”

Along the journey, ROUSH CleanTech entered the market and took care of Blue Bird transitioning from the GM engine to the Ford engine it still uses today. “They have done a great job helping expand the propane vehicle market,” Donaldson said. “It has been important that multiple stakeholders have gotten involved in the propane autogas movement. At trade shows now we are a force to be reckoned with as an industry…no more is it one versus 50. PERC has helped organize our efforts and that’s a real plus as far as how we are viewed collectively as a fuel. We have more propane vehicles on the road in the U.S. than ever before.”

But Donaldson acknowledged the road to success for propane as a motor fuel has not been for the faint of heart. “A lot of us have been in the trenches together over the past 32 or so years in one capacity or another. I feel like it’s been a marathon with different entities playing different roles, from those that are runners to others that are the supporters making sure we have water and energy bars and everything we need to finish the race. It’s not easy and often you just want to quit, but passion for the market kicks in and you keep running”

Donaldson acknowledged the downturn of gasoline prices beginning in 2015 that lasted more than two years made the value proposition for propane a tougher discussion. “While we continued to press on, the lower gasoline prices slowed interest in propane as a transportation fuel,” he said. “Nonetheless, there are plenty of incentives that today help drive the market including the recently extended tax rebate, ongoing state grant programs, VW grant programs nationwide, PERC marketing/education support, and savings versus diesel as clean air regulations make the cost to comply with diesel emissions requirements much higher.”

JOINING AGILITY FUEL SOLUTIONS
In 2017, Agility Fuel Solutions acquired the assets of Clean Fuel USA and hired key members of the team, including Donaldson, Wayne Moore, and Calvin Thorn, to form its new powertrain systems business. With operations in Wixom, Mich., and Georgetown, Texas, the new division was off and running and able to provide propane fuel systems to its key partners and OEMs as well as continuing to take care of key customers such as UPS. “Agility brings propane into the mix of CNG and natural gas systems to be able to provide what works for most types of fleets to keep them going,” he said. “It has been a good fit for Clean Fuel USA to move over to the Agility Fuel Solutions family.”
BPN exclusive Then and Now profile is propane autogas trailblazer Curtis Donaldson on evolution to clean american energy for vehicle fleets march 2020
The move to Agility Fuel Solutions brought Donaldson back together with Brad Garner, his new boss, who had been at Superior when it decided to enter the U.S. autogas market a couple of decades earlier. After a stint with Superior, Garner worked for IMPCO Technologies, where again in the early 2000s he worked with both Donaldson and Moore. So, to some degree, a team reunited and grew stronger.

After 32 years, despite all the many headwinds that have affected propane autogas, Donaldson feels that much success has been realized and much more lies ahead for the propane autogas market. He notes we now have strong organizations in PERC and Clean Cities supporting autogas. We have multiple dispenser manufacturers, such as Superior Energy Systems; several OEM products, including all three school bus manufacturers; excellent suppliers like Agility Fuel Solutions that are here for the long haul; and fleets across the country that believe and have expanded their propane fleet vehicle population.

“If I had one suggestion to make based on lessons learned, it would be, we need to organize similar to how Agility Fuel Solutions approaches the market, which is to focus on the merits of the fuel, the service infrastructure, and the resulting customer ROI,” Donaldson said. “Without this type of focus, especially regarding service, we will not optimize market potential and certainly lose market share to competing fuels.”

“On a personal note,” he concluded, “I think about the people along this journey who taught, who encouraged, who led, who followed, who inspired, and encouraged again and again—key industry leaders such as Bob Myers, Larry Osgood, Wayne Moore, Calvin Thorn, Dan Granger, Brad Garner, and so many others that have poured so much into not only keeping it alive, but help making it thrive. What an awesome opportunity it has been to build relationships and partnerships along the way; to see the industry grow and eventually embrace autogas; to see technology evolve, both for engines and stations, so we stay in the race; and to see so many new faces just in this last decade and see how the younger generation is now impacting our industry. I’m glad to have been a small part of a tremendous group of passionate people that started this market segment many years ago and kept it alive in the lean years and never gave up. The market has grown and with it an army of passionate stakeholders planting more seeds than ever. The propane industry is positioned to gather a great harvest.” — Pat Thornton

Expert Shares Tips To Support Autogas Sales

(March 24, 2020) — By Todd Mouw…A largely untapped opportunity that shows long-term growth for propane is the on-road vehicle market. It’s a lucrative market that continues to mature. In 10 years, ROUSH CleanTech has put more than 20,000 propane vehicles on the roads, including commercial fleet vehicles and school buses. How does this relate to increasing propane sales? Well, fueling just one school bus with propane autogas equates to an average propane load for five residential homes per year combined.

Tips to increase propane autogas vehicle sales from Roush CleanTech expert Mouw BPN the lPG industry leading source for news since 1939The latest Propane Market Outlook by ICF International, which forecasts through 2025, predicts propane consumption in the propane autogas sectors to rise steadily to more than 1.6 billion gallons by 2025. This report also forecasts that propane vehicle sales will grow to more than 50,000 units.

Here are the top tips to help you support the sale of propane autogas vehicles with the goal to increase your propane autogas sales.

Targeting your customers. Tap into your existing client base. A local company that uses propane for its forklifts also operates trucks. What about the residential customer who owns a contracting business?

Look to the public and private sector that run commercial vehicles, such as transit and airport transportation. Light- and medium-duty propane trucks, vans, and shuttles are available through fuel system manufacturers, upfitters, and dealerships.

School districts are another popular market for propane. According to the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), more than 18,000 propane school buses transport 1.1 million students among 930 school districts across the nation. This presents an opportunity to talk to local school district fleet managers about their current school bus manufacturer or contractor and explain the emission-reducing, cost-saving benefits of propane autogas. There is a huge potential economic impact over the next decade as conventionally fueled buses are replaced with alternatively fueled buses like propane autogas.

And, keep in mind that the school bus market is not limited to yellow school buses, but also includes all other school district vehicles. Explain available federal and local incentives they could receive by purchasing alternative fuels like propane autogas.
BPN shares Tips To Increase Propane Autogas Sales inc Tax Credits lowest cost zero emmissions reports industry leading source for news since 1939For additional sources, many fuel system manufacturers have case studies showcasing successful deployments and happy customers. Both PERC and the Energy Department’s Alternative Fuels Data Center also have studies showcasing successful propane autogas fleet deployments. Your local Clean Cities or your state propane gas association can direct you to existing success stories in your area.

In-house, you can conduct on-site visits to local businesses or school districts to present the benefits of propane autogas vehicles. You can host workshops at your facility to provide fueling demonstrations and to familiarize attendees with propane infrastructure options. If the prospective customers still have questions regarding propane for their vehicles, you can direct them to a propane fuel system manufacturer who can offer their services. This could be tours of their facilities, workshops with the mechanics to introduce propane technology, etc.

Get to know propane fuel system manufacturers. Do you know which technology companies offer propane autogas fuel systems, and for which vehicle manufacturers those systems are designed? Which ones are certified by EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB)? Find a complete listing of all certified fuel systems and vehicle platforms on PERC’s website, or go to CARB’s Alternative Fuel site.

Also, look into original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) offerings to see available gaseous fuel options. For instance, Ford offers a full line of commercial vehicles equipped with engines prepped from the factory to successfully run on gaseous fuels. Plus, the factory warranty coverage on the vehicle is maintained once it is converted by a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier.

Since all vehicles need maintenance, make sure the fuel system provided has a robust service network in place or are able to provide training. Visit a local dealership and offer your knowledge and support. They’ll think of you the next time a customer asks about a propane distributor.

Partnering with manufacturers. Every purchaser of propane vehicles needs to find a propane fuel source. Fuel system manufacturers are constantly talking to potential customers about their fueling needs as well as their vehicle purchases. Establish a relationship with these companies to learn what they can offer to your customers.

By maintaining this relationship, you will have access to sales training, marketing materials, and additional support to help diversify your own company’s sales efforts. If you make introductions to customer prospects, manufacturers will be more likely to do the same for you.
An energy expert on market trends said, “If you are a propane company and you choose not to embrace propane autogas, you might be out of business in a few years.”

This market is growing, and so can your sales, if you invest time and resources toward propane as a transportation fuel.

Todd Mouw is president of ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of alternative fuel vehicle technology. Mouw has served as president of the NTEA Green Truck Association. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 800.59.ROUSH. To learn more, visit ROUSHCleanTech.com

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..