Airport Business

OCT 2018

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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10 airportbusiness October 2018 LANDSIDE DEVELOPMENT Step 2: Assess what portion of your fleet can be transitioned from conventional fuels to propane autogas Next, you’ll need to assess your current fleet situation and decide how many vehicles to move from conventional fuels to propane autogas. A big decision to make is whether to purchase new vehicles or convert existing ones. Either way, you can experience cost savings and emissions reductions of the fuel itself. Although, the greatest return on investment over the life of a vehicle comes when it’s a new vehicle outfitted from the start with a dedicated propane autogas fuel system. One advantage is that a new propane autogas-fueled vehicle will have the necessary hardened valves and valve seats installed directly from the factory. This valve configuration accommodates propane’s different lubricity (compared to gasoline and diesel), and keeps valves and valve seats from receding. Newly purchased propane autogas vehicles should also come with the original equipment manufacturer warranty intact. And, propane autogas engines are noticeably quieter. Shuttles and buses fueled by propane autogas reduce noise levels by about half compared to a diesel engine. While diesel engines are commonly associated with producing noticeable engine noise, propane autogas engines allow drivers to better hear and communicate with the passengers onboard. Comparing total cost of ownership between various vehicles also helps fleet managers make a more informed decision. The higher the annual miles driven and the lower the vehicle’s fuel efficiency, the more likely propane autogas will provide a quick return on investment. How much could your fleet save with propane? The savings calculator from the Propane Education & Research Council will help you measure lifetime operating and ownership costs. Step 3: Determine a fueling strategy The last step in making the transition to propane autogas is to determine a fueling strategy. Your choices are to fill up at public propane autogas fueling stations, at a private pump on your fleet’s premises or to contract for onsite fueling services. Because many company’s vehicles return to a central point at the end of each day, an onsite propane station can easily take care of your fueling needs. Depending on storage necessity, longevity and available space, there are underground storage tanks for longer-term use or aboveground skids that can be replaced or removed. Look for a local fuel supplier to install low or no-cost propane infrastructure. These propane providers specialize in helping fleets choose the right fueling option based on the fleet size, routes, budget and facility space. According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, the upfront cost of propane infrastructure is very affordable. In fact, propane autogas fueling infrastructure costs less than any other fueling station — conventional or alternative. Fleet owners may only be responsible for installing permanent equipment like a concrete pad or electricity line for the fuel station. The other costs — that could include paying for a tank, pump and dispensing equipment — may be picked up or offered at low cost to a fleet when it signs a fueling contract with a propane provider. Because of its Environmental Protection Agency classification as a non-contaminant, propane infrastructure has fewer compliance requirements than conventional fuels, meaning there is no costly EPA monitoring involved. Another option is to contract with a propane supplier to perform onsite propane autogas fueling services. The propane supplier comes to your location and fuels from their bobtail truck. And for fleets with limited space, public stations can be the solution. There are already thousands of propane stations across the U.S. To find stations near you, visit the Alternative Fuels Data Center. As part of this step, you should vet both providers of the fuel and the fueling stations. Propane providers can answer your questions about fueling your fleet. You may even already have a propane provider for other equipment, like forklifts or commercial mowers. With conventional fuel prices on the rise, and the federal government enacting stricter environmental controls, the total ownership cost of diesel vehicles is heading upward. This trend creates a well-timed opportunity to transition vehicles to clean-burning, cost-effective propane autogas and help reduce your airport’s carbon footprint. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Todd Mouw, President, ROUSH CleanTech 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 or 800.59.ROUSH. To learn more, visit One advantage is that a new propane autogas-fueled vehicle will have the necessary hardened valves and valve seats installed directly from the factory. Roush CleanTech

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