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Tennessee municipality grows autogas program

June 26, 2020 By    
AAG Greeneville autogas fleet

Greeneville converted 13 police Ford sedans to run on autogas. Photo courtesy of Alliance AutoGas and Town of Greeneville

In 2018, Todd Smith, city administrator for Greeneville, Tennessee, wanted to reduce the town’s expenses, as well as its impact on the environment.

Smith began researching the potential benefits of adding an autogas program to the town’s fleet, and found that it could purchase fuel at a fixed rate and have reduced maintenance requirements and the ability to reduce its carbon footprint through Alliance AutoGas (AAG).

Converting to autogas

Greeneville began its switch to propane autogas by converting three of its law enforcement Ford Explorers.

One benefit of the converted police vehicles, Smith found, was having a bi-fuel engine, according to AAG. An autogas bi-fuel vehicle is a conventional gasoline vehicle that can run on both autogas and gasoline.

The primary advantage of a bi-fuel system over a monofuel system is its elimination of range anxiety when compared to other alternative fuel vehicles, according to AAG.

“In addition to upfront benefits found in autogas, having an additional fuel increases the department’s loiter time in our vehicles for emergencies,” Smith says.

As a result, Greeneville decided to invest in its own autogas refueling station. Smith says that with the new refueling infrastructure, officers are now able to refuel their vehicles while still being able to respond to calls when necessary.

“AAG was able to quickly deliver and install a propane vehicle refueling station for the town that is as similar to operate as going to your regular gasoline station,” says David Kennedy, director of autogas design at Alliance AutoGas.

The AAG national network also includes certified service and installation centers, including Kyker’s Extreme Automotive, which is owned and operated by Dale and Lisa Kyker.

The company has served the area since 1982, and became a certified service and installation center so that it can continue maintaining the town’s vehicles, according to AAG.

“We actually started propane conversions in 1988 for a local fleet, and one of those trucks is still in use today,” says Dale Kyker. “Working with AAG has been simple, straightforward and the training was top-notch. The AAG conversion systems are relatively flawless and very well designed. We believe propane is a great alternative fuel with less of a carbon footprint than gasoline. It can save the taxpayer money and increase our officers’ ability to stay on the scene, which makes it a win for everyone involved.”

Easing fuel uncertainty

In times of emergency, fuel uncertainty is among many concerns for fleets across the country. Propane autogas is produced domestically, which provides a reliable fuel source for all essential employees who are using the alternative fuel.

AAG says that autogas gives fleets independence by not needing to rely on foreign fuel in addition to providing the ability to focus on any given crisis.

“Having an additional fuel source helps maintain the town’s ability to provide critical services to the residents of Greeneville in times of shortages and emergencies,” Smith says.

Smith also shares that in addition to its law enforcement fleets, the town sees expanding its autogas usage into other departments as a viable option for the future.

“Propane now is an option to consider when looking at alternative fuel sources across the town of Greeneville,” Smith explains. “We are currently discussing being able to expand our program for local school buses, among other departments.”

By the numbers

The town of Greeneville has:

  • Converted 18 vehicles to autogas for its police department, including 13 law enforcement Ford sedans and 5 law enforcement Ford Explorers.
  • Used more than 18,500 gallons of autogas, which displaces more than 566 barrels of oil and 406 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to EPA calculations.
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About the Author:

Carly McFadden is associate editor at LP Gas Magazine. She is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and a native of Cleveland, Ohio. McFadden can be reached at cmcfadden@northcoastmedia.net.

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