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Fleets burning clean

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The Alliance AutoGas Member meeting heated up Atlanta the morning of April 14, 2014 after the NPGA Southeast Expo and Conference at the Georgia World Congress Center located in Atlanta, Georgia with 90+ attendees. Members ranged from all over the United States into Canada. The Alliance Autogas partners took advantage of their attendance and invited the attendees to join their 45, already, attending members to discuss key national initiatives.

Alliance Autogas is owned by Blossman Gas, the nation’s largest independent propane company and the founding member, located in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Alliance Autogas is determined to effect climate change through their efforts of providing propane, a certified clean fuel, to fleets. Law enforcement has been a tremendous business segment success in converting Crown Victoria’s from traditionally used fuels to propane vehicles.

“Ford now has decided to take the Crown Victoria out of their line-up and we are now having law enforcement coming to us with Capri, Impala, Taurus, Dodge Charger, as well as others so we, Alliance Autogas, will only convert vehicles with EPA certifications,” according to David Finder . “We are looking for the Crown Vic replacement with a complete, comprehensive program.” David is the National Energy Programs Manager for Alliance Autogas.

David explained in an interview that, “Alliance Autogas created a system for fleets that return back to home base at night. So if you have a fuel contract with Alliance Autogas we will put the fueling infrastructure at your vehicle location at no charge which is a lot different then what’s happening with CNG (compressed natural gas). Those fueling stations are $5.1-7 million dollars where we average about $45,000. But we do believe that there is a place for both: CNG and Propane vehicles.”

When asking David about the 1965 truck that Chevrolet designed dedicated for propane and what design plans are there for the future? He remarked, “There are 23 million propane vehicles running world-wide today. That includes everybody, OEM (original equipment manufacturers) and aftermarket conversions. As a matter of fact, in Europe there is about any car you want. It comes from the OEM as a propane vehicle. The difference over there between petrol and gasoline is as much as a $5.00 per gallon difference. Here in the United States we have ROUSH Clean Tech who’s partnered with Ford to make propane dedicated vehicles off the line as propane dedicated vehicles. Also Clean Fuels USA is doing the same thing with GM.”

Not Atlanta, but Georgia, as a State, can boast of a large buy-in into propane fleet conversions with Alliance Autogas versus other States with law enforcement. We have a big a job in helping the Atlanta area on board in cleaning up their fuels. According to David, “We believe it’s going to take everybody to make a difference with alternative fuels. It’s going to take CNG, Electric; Propane Autogas. So we just want a piece of the pie.”

Propane is a 98% made product of the United States, certified as a clean fuel by EPA standards and has a reduced cost savings per gallon versus traditionally used fuels. It’s disappointing, from an environmental footprint aspect, that the infrastructure for propane is not set up to take advantage to its own product.

He further states, “Technology has changed from what it was in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Europe is so much more advanced than the US. Our Prins autogas systems are purchased from Holland and we bring them over here and get them EPA approved. The reason law enforcement is so attracted to us is because, with our system, if you run out of propane it automatically switches over to gasoline.” He further states that they have fleets saving upwards to $1M per year on fuel savings because of the conversion to propane.

In California Alliance Autogas is having a hard time becoming approved because they are EPA certified but not CARB approved. The difficulty is in identifying the aftermarket aspect. “If it’s OEM dedicated that is a different story,” says David. He smiles as he says, “We have to educate California in the bio-fuel aspect.”

“Everyone else is offering a box to convert your vehicle, we have stepped up and offering a complete system, distribution, warehousing and full support,” says Alliance Autogas. Alliance Autogas offers a comprehensive package that includes consulting, equipment, financing, fueling, training and safety. A new quick-connect nozzle will soon be introduced from Europe that is much safer. Meet Alliance AutoGas at the fleet shows and experience their diesel blend system along with partners BL Engerie USA and PRINS coming to Miami, Florida this October at the 27th World LP Congress.

America burns clean with propane, could be the next slogan we see on billboards!

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