The Polk County Sheriff’s Office expects to save more than $20,000 annually by running 10 patrol cars on propane autogas. The fleet conversion began in March 2013 and was recently completed.
The Sheriff’s Office converted seven Ford Crown Victoria’s, two Chevy Tahoe’s and one Ford F-350 pickup, with the Prins VSI bi-fuel autogas system through the Alliance AutoGas program. Auto Additions of Salem performed the vehicle conversions, while Blue Star Gas furnished the autogas fuel station and delivers year-round fuel supply.
The Sheriff’s Office was looking for a way to save money on the fuel costs, as patrol cars travel an average of almost 25,000 miles each year, so the fleet’s fuel bills are very noticeable each month. Even without the 50-cent-per-gallon federal alternative fuel tax credit in 2013, autogas costs substantially less per gallon than gasoline, and the propane-powered vehicles will retain almost the same miles-per-gallon average as gasoline vehicles.
“Our deputies have not noticed any difference in vehicle performance; in fact, the autogas engines run cleaner than gasoline engines,” says Sergeant Mark Garton of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. “The autogas vehicles can drive up to 10,000 miles between regular services since autogas is a cleaner burning, higher octane fuel, so the engine the life our aging fleet should be increased.”
Blue Star Gas provides the Alliance AutoGas program for West-Coast fleets; the program includes autogas vehicle conversions, fueling, fuel station installation, staff safety training and ongoing technical support. Alliance is the exclusive U.S. distributor of Prins autogas systems, including the versatile bi-fuel Prins Vapor Sequential Injection (VSI) system can revert to gasoline at the push of a button and can also be moved from retiring vehicles to newer ones with very little vehicle downtime.
“The ability to move the equipment from an older vehicle to a newer one is also great feature, which will continue to help us save money into the future,” says Sergeant Garton.
“The ability to switch back to gasoline is a tremendous option for the Sheriff’s Office because in an emergency situation, we not only have a full tank of propane but also a backup full tank of gasoline,” says Sergeant Garton.
Propane autogas is the most widely used alternative fuel, and powers 18 million vehicles around the world. U.S. autogas fleets currently save upwards of $2 per gallon on fuel costs versus gasoline, and they also save money on maintenance since autogas is so much cleaner than gasoline. Autogas is a domestically produced fuel, with 98 percent of the U.S. autogas supply made in America.
Source: Albany Tribune