Fuel Oil News

Fuel Oil News - January 2017

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16 JANUARY 2017 | FUEL OIL NEWS | www.fueloilnews.com PROPONENTS OF PROPANE AS A MOTOR FUEL, aka autogas, say it is "greener," costs less than gasoline or diesel, is almost entirely domestically produced—and today's vehicles can be designed or converted to use it. Because the fuel burns efficiently and inflicts less wear and tear on engines than gasoline or diesel, it helps reduce maintenance costs, according to Alliance AutoGas, a network of distributors that provides autogas and autogas systems to medium and heavy-duty fleets. Members also provide autogas for lawn care companies. Propane (C3H8), or liquefied petroleum gas, is called autogas when used as a motor fuel. Alliance AutoGas comprises more than 120 independent propane marketers and conversion centers throughout North America. The Alliance was founded and is man- aged by Blossman Gas Inc., Ocean Springs, Miss., a privately-owned propane company. The goal of Alliance AutoGas is to convert fleets to run on autogas. Jessica Johnson, sales coordinator and member liaison for Alliance AutoGas, says autogas costs less than gasoline on any given day. Alternative fuels appeal more to vehicle fleet managers and consumers as gasoline or diesel prices increase, says the U.S. Department of Energy on its Alternative Fuels Data Center website. Prices for alternative fuel, like prices for gasoline and diesel, can fluctuate based on location, time of year, and politi- cal climate, the Data Center notes. The Center's website (http://www.afdc. energy.gov/fuels/prices.html) refers visi- tors to its Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report, which provides regional alternative and conventional fuel prices for biodiesel, compressed natural gas, ethanol, hydrogen, propane, gasoline, and diesel. The report is a "snapshot in time of retail fuel prices," the Data Center says. The Center also advises that alternative-fuel fleets can obtain "sig- nificantly lower fuel prices than those reported by entering into contracts directly with local fuel suppliers." Energy content—measured in British Thermal units—also varies among fuel types and needs to be accounted for, energy marketers say. A c c o r d i n g t o B i l l O v e r b a u g h , general manager at Ehrhart Energy in Trumansburg, N.Y., a member of Alliance AutoGas since its inception, autogas can be used to power cars, truck, buses, boats, lawn mowers, fork- lifts and more. "It reduces our greenhouse gas emissions, reduces our dependence on foreign oil, and saves drivers money," Overbaugh says. "While there are other fuels that can tout some or most of these benefits, propane autogas is the only one that gives you all those benefits with the same range as gasoline—completely seamlessly and with refueling infrastruc- ture that costs a minimal amount." And Overbaugh should know. Ehrhart Energy has used autogas con- sistently since the 1950s. Overbaugh's great uncle, the company's founder, ran his 1938 Chevy on propane during gas shortages in World War II. "We were one of the earliest com- panies to convert vehicles with the Prins system [a conversion kit], and we have done around 100 vehicles on that system," Overbaugh says. Prins Autogassytemen BV, which provides the Prins system, is part of Westport Fuel Is propane the motor fuel of the future? by MAURA KELLER THE CASE FOR AUTOGAS

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