Wisconsin retailer finds continued success with autogas

August 1, 2018 By    

Boehlke Bottled Gas Corp., working with GoRiteway, installed an autogas dispenser in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Boehlke Bottled Gas Corp.

Many school districts are transitioning their fleets to run on propane autogas, providing an opportunity for retailers to grow year-round gallons. Boehlke Bottled Gas Corp. in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, is one such company that has capitalized on this ever-growing market.

The company has been serving school bus accounts for about seven years. Its most recent autogas dispensing station was installed in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, for GoRiteway, a transportation solutions provider in Wisconsin and Illinois. This is the third station the company has installed for GoRiteway.

The 30,000-gallon tank will service about 40 school buses in the LaCrosse School District and the neighboring school district in Onalaska, Wisconsin. According to Chad Kroening, director of safety and commercial operations for Boehlke, the districts are putting a total of 18 autogas buses on the road in the first year. Kroening predicts they will use about 75,000 gallons to start.

However, based on the usage of other dispensing stations serviced by Boehlke with similar fleet sizes, Kroening guesses that once this unit is running at full capacity it will dispense over 100,000 gallons per year.

According to Kroening, if propane retailers are thinking about servicing autogas accounts, they should consider taking three steps. First, they should get a propane vehicle and start driving it. Second, they should get out and talk to people.

“See what the hurdles are,” Kroening says. “If you’re afraid to talk to people and not willing to confront what you want to do, you’re never going to know. That’s what it comes down to. Right now, I probably prodded or poked three or four dozen people on the idea of autogas. And I’ve gotten six accounts.”

Third, retailers should give people options. Kroening attributes much of Boehlke’s success in this market to the company’s willingness to bend a little to give clients what they want. He admits that when they started working in this market they weren’t necessarily the lowest-cost option, but they were willing to work with end users to give them what they wanted, which gave the company a leg up.

“Give options,” he says. “People want options.”

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About the Author:

Clara Richter was a managing editor at LP Gas magazine.

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