Tennessee Essential Workers Finding Success with Alternative Fuels

In 2018, Todd Smith, city administrator for the Town of Greeneville, Tenn., wanted to reduce the town’s expenses as well as its impact on the environment. Smith started to research the potential benefits of adding an autogas program to the town’s fleet, and found that by working with Alliance AutoGas (AAG), it could purchase fuel at a fixed rate, have reduced maintenance requirements, and the ability to reduce the town’s carbon footprint. “After confirming those key benefits, we knew this was a program to implement,” said Smith.

The Town of Greeneville converted three of its Law Enforcement Ford Explorers. One benefit of the converted police vehicles that Smith soon found was having a bi-fuel engine, with its ability to eliminate range anxiety when compared to other alternative fuel vehicles. “In addition to upfront benefits found in autogas, having an additional fuel increases the department’s loiter time in our vehicles for emergencies,” according to Smith.

After seeing the success with its three initial autogas vehicles, the Town of Greeneville expanded its autogas program with AAG. The town currently has 18 converted autogas vehicles for the local police department—13 Ford Law Enforcement sedans, and five Ford Law Enforcement Explorers. The community also invested in its own autogas refueling station. “AAG was able to quickly deliver and install a propane vehicle refueling station for the town that is as similar to operate as going to your regular gasoline station,” says David Kennedy, director of autogas design at Alliance AutoGas. “The Town of Greeneville officers can easily drive up, activate, and fill their vehicles with propane at their very own convenient AAG propane station.” When speaking on the refueling infrastructure, Smith added, “With the new infrastructure, our officers can refuel their vehicles quickly while being able to easily respond to calls. It makes refueling very convenient for our department.”

The Alliance AutoGas national network also includes AAG Certified Service and Installation centers. Kyker’s Extreme Automotive, owned and operated by Dale and Lisa Kyker, has served the Greeneville area since 1982, and has a long history of servicing the town of Greeneville’s vehicles. As such, Kyker’s became a certified Service and Installation Center so that they were able to continue maintaining the town’s vehicles. “We actually started propane conversions in 1988 for a local fleet, and one of those trucks is still in use today,” said Dale Kyker. “Working with AAG has been simple, straight-forward, and the training was top notch. We believe propane is a great alternative fuel with less of a carbon footprint than gasoline. It can save the taxpayer money and increase our officer’s ability to stay on the scene, which makes it a win for everyone involved.”

In times of emergencies, like the current fight against COVID-19, fuel uncertainty is among many concerns for fleets nationwide. Propane autogas, produced domestically, is a reliable fuel source for all essential employees who are utilizing the alternative fuel. “Having an additional fuel source helps maintain the town’s ability to provide critical services to the residents of Greeneville in times of shortages and emergencies,” says Smith.

Alliance AutoGas member Blossman Gas is the refueling partner in this project. Scott Prewitt, regional vice president for Blossman Gas, says, “Blossman is proud to have the opportunity to serve the town and this police department. It shows how much their leadership cares about the residents they serve. To date, the Town of Greeneville has used 18,500 gallons of autogas, which according to EPA calculations displaces 566 barrels of oil and 448 short tons of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Happy Fox, an alternative fuel consultant for AAG, points out that, “The Town of Greeneville has an outstanding team that is committed to serving the local community. They have been great to work with in regards to their autogas program.” When discussing the future of the propane autogas program, Smith added, “Propane now is an option to consider when looking at alternative fuel sources across the Town of Greeneville. We are currently discussing being able to expand our program for local school buses, among other departments.”

SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, May 7, 2020. Subscribers receive all the latest posted and spot prices from major terminals and refineries around the U.S. delivered to inboxes every week. Receive a center spread of posted prices with hundreds of postings updated each week, along with market analysis, insightful commentary, and much more not found elsewhere.