With high gasoline and maintenance costs, it's not surprising that more companies, municipalities and fleets are looking at alternative fuels. Last month, Vehicle Service Pros magazine published an article about the City of Springfield, Illinois, converting 24 police cars and pickup trucks to propane.
Lower fuel costs and environmental benefits were two of the major reasons for the switch to propane, says William D. McCarty, finance director for the City of Springfield. The municipality follows in the footsteps of companies like Schwan Food Company.
Following the oil crisis of the 1970s, the founder of Schwan Food Company, Marvin Schwan, decided to convert the company’s fleet of trucks to liquid propane power. Today, the company has the largest propane-powered fleet of trucks in the United States. More than 90 percent of its trucks, which log more than 135 million miles annually, are fueled by propane.
In 2009, CHS began supplying propane for Schwan's depot storage tanks across the country. Before working with CHS, more than 100 companies supplied the millions of gallons of propane the Schwan's fleet uses annually. Working with CHS allowed Schwan's to consolidate a portion of its propane to one supplier.
In addition to supplying propane, CHS has helped companies and fleet operators convert their vehicles to propane. When CHS Hamilton, formerly known as Hamilton Farm Bureau, decided to make the switch, CHS first ensured the company’s trucks could be converted to propane. After working with a number of vendors to install the propane injection systems, CHS’s experts helped install the new propane system dispensers.
Their reasons for converting mirror the City of Springfield’s.
Lower Fuel Costs
“It was obvious to us from the beginning that propane autogas was the best and most cost-effective alternative fuel for the type of assets we wished to convert,” says William D. McCarty, finance director for the City of Springfield.
The city originally calculated a cost savings on fuel of $82,000. But with last winter’s propane price hikes and government rebate levels, the savings came out to around $70,000. City officials expect they’ll return to predicted savings this year.
“Adopting propane autogas technology, with its positive environmental impacts, was simply good public policy given our city’s dedication to enhanced sustainability efforts,” McCarty says. Surrounding Illinois cities are taking notice of the propane-powered vehicles and asking how they can convert their own city vehicles.
Easy-to-Use Refueling System
The propane refueling infrastructure was less expensive than other fuels’ infrastructure, McCarty told Vehicle Service Pros. The propane pump is also very similar to a gasoline fuel pump, making it easy for drivers to adopt the new system.
Read more about Springfield’s switch at VehicleServicePros.com.
Learn more about propane autogas and ways companies can utilize propane for their businesses here.