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In the Know: Adopting autogas at your propane operation

October 26, 2021 By    

In the Know is a monthly partnership between LP Gas and Propane Resources. This month, Obie Dixon offers advice to propane marketers who are considering propane autogas fleets.


Photo: LP Gas staff

Adopting autogas at your retail propane operation imparts key benefits like cost savings but also involves operational considerations such as determining vehicle service providers. (Photo: LP Gas staff)

QUESTION: What advice do you have for propane marketers who want to run their vehicle fleets on propane autogas?

ANSWER: What does it say about your product if, as a propane company, you’re not using it? If I go into a propane marketer’s home, I expect to see propane appliances – not electric ones. When you step onto a retail propane company’s lot, you would expect to see some autogas-powered vehicles, but that is not always the case.

Talking with propane marketers across the country, there is always a mixed bag of opinions when it comes to the use of propane autogas fleets. Some marketers embrace autogas, some dabble in it and others will have no autogas-powered vehicles and have valid reasons why they don’t.

If you have not made the leap to autogas-powered vehicles, including your bobtails, here are some things to consider before you do.

⦁ Service: Who will work on your system? Autogas-powered engines have improved greatly over the years, but you still hear horror stories from propane retailers who invest in an autogas-powered vehicle and cannot get proper service when there is a problem. Before you purchase a propane-powered vehicle, make sure it is from a reputable company. Talk to current users, and always ask the question: Would you buy another one?

⦁ Performance: Depending on your location and surrounding geography, you should ask: Will it do the job of the equipment you’re replacing? Propane is a clean and economical fuel, but your autogas-powered vehicle will not have the power of the typical diesel-powered truck.

⦁ Fuel tax: Make sure you know and understand your state’s motor fuel tax on the autogas you use.

⦁ Incentives: There are still federal- and state-related tax breaks and financial incentives for switching to autogas. Check with your state PERC organizations on the status of rebates and incentives. Don’t ignore these. You could be turning down “free” money.

⦁ Economics: Everyone is watching the bottom line – at least they should be. Switching to an autogas-powered vehicle will save you money.

If you haven’t noticed, the price of gasoline and diesel has gone up between 20 cents to 25 cents per gallon since January. The price of propane has risen, too, but it’s still $1 to $2 cheaper per gallon than gasoline and diesel.

⦁ Cleaner emissions: Propane is still the cleanest-burning fuel available. Other fuels don’t even come close to clean-burning propane.

Above are just a few points to consider when making the decision to run your vehicle fleets on propane autogas. Ask others who are running vehicles on propane. Get their advice and opinions about what works well and what doesn’t work so well, and then relate their advice to your fleet needs.


Obie Dixon is the director of special projects for Propane Resources. He can be reached at 913-262-8345 or obie@propaneresources.com.

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