Fuel Oil News

Fuel Oil News - January 2017

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www.fueloilnews.com | FUEL OIL NEWS | JANUARY 2017 19 Ehrhart Energy started to see success in the adoption of autogas when fuel prices were really high. At that time, the fuel marketer picked up half a dozen new fleet customers in a year or two. "Since fuel prices have come down, the interest has fallen off a lot," Overbaugh says. "The financial benefits are still solidly there, but I think people just aren't upset about fuel costs, so they aren't motivated to change. However, we've been seeing some success lately with schools, whose incentive includes cost savings, but is primarily focused on environmental benefits: both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality for the young lungs they transport." Because lower fuel prices are a good thing overall, Overbaugh doesn't see that as an obstacle. Rather, he thinks, people are reluc- tant to change and try new things. "There are always horror stories about trying new fuels, and old-timers can remember horror stories about propane AutoGas back in the 80s and 90s," Overbaugh says. "Even though most of the problems are avoided with modern autogas systems, a few small problems in the past can greatly influence decisions about the future." Overbaugh likens it to the service technician who has to carry that one super rare gas valve on his truck because he needed one at midnight in 1997. "I also think people are often concerned about the refueling, even though there is already a huge network, and you can install a state-of-the-art private refueling station for under $30,000—com- pared to 10 times that for natural gas," Overbaugh says. "So when you look at all this together, I think the common thread is that we, in the industry, aren't doing a great job at telling the story of auto- gas. We're getting better at it. But we need to be more vocal about the benefits, and about countering inaccurate claims of the problems of autogas." Johnson says there are many benefits to converting a fleet to autogas. "Whether you want to help the environment, save on fuel and operating costs, double your vehicle's range, or just want to rely on a domestically sourced fuel, once you understand the process, it is a no-brainer," Johnson says. To stimulate wider adoption of autogas, industry players agree that education is key. As Tetreault explains, the greatest obstacle currently is aware- ness. "Because this is not widely known, most people are unsure of it, and thus, how it can fill their fuel needs," Tetreault says. "Although there is an initial investment in converting a vehicle, the long-term benefits are well worth it." That said, being able to get the end user to see those benefits can be a challenge at times. "Autogas is not a new thing, but what is new is our technology and the great experiences our customers are having," Johnson says. "We offer the solutions that weren't available twenty, ten, even five years ago." Autogas is "the fuel of the future," Johnson says. "The more we grow our network, more infrastructure will be available, and as a result, more vehicles will be running on propane." l F O N Alliance AutoGas provides a turnkey solution to its customers as well as support and guidance.

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