Phillips Energy Inc., an energy provider in southeastern Virginia, partnered with Harris Garage Inc., an automotive repair facility in Tidewater, Virginia, to perform propane autogas fleet conversion efforts.
Both Phillips Energy and Harris Garage plan to help area fleet operators take advantage of government incentives to convert their vehicles to run on autogas, Phillips Energy says. Phillips Energy assists operators with their fleet conversion efforts by setting up their fuel storage and delivery infrastructure. The energy provider coordinates with partners like Harris Garage, which is a full-service independent automotive repair facility, and Alliance AutoGas, which supplies the conversion hardware.
The two companies are currently helping the city of Newport News, Virginia, to convert 24 of its Ford F-250 pickup trucks for its building services, water works and landscape divisions to autogas. The city had success with converting 22 of its vehicles to autogas in 2011 and its public school system recently added 24 autogas school buses to its fleet.
“I believe we’ve reached a real tipping point in the evolution of the autogas movement,” says Elizabeth Phillips McCormick, vice president of Phillips Energy and president-elect of the Virginia Propane Gas Association. “Fleet conversions will become routine as more operators become familiar with the incentives and the economic advantages at stake, and their comfort level rises with respect to conversion efforts that are becoming ever more efficient in their own right.”
During fleet autogas conversion processes such as the one with Newport News, Phillips Energy technicians will install pump stations and 1,000- to 2,000-gallon propane storage tanks on site at the fleet’s headquarters. Fleet vehicles are then taken to Harris Garage where autogas-certified service technicians install EPA-certified conversion systems on the vehicles, which include an easy-to-connect wiring harness, autogas fuel tank and other bolt-on hardware.
“We are proud to be further extending our service partnership with Phillips on such important and forward-thinking initiatives,” says Michael Harris, president of Harris Garage. “Autogas conversions are truly win-win propositions, and we’re looking forward to helping more public and private fleets across our region capitalize on their many benefits.”