What is autogas?
Propane autogas, also referred to as Liquefied Petroleum Gas, is propane condensed to a liquid for use in vehicles. Propane autogas is listed as an approved alternative fuel in the Clean Air Act (1990) and the Energy Policy Act (1992), and it is the third most commonly used vehicle fuel in the world, behind only gasoline and diesel.
More than 90 percent of the nation′s propane autogas supply is produced in the United States. Autogas is a by-product of both CNG processing and crude oil refining.
What are the economic benefits of transitioning fleets from gasoline to autogas?
- Propane autogas costs on average $1.00 less per gallon than gasoline, even accounting for a small loss in fuel efficiency
- Autogas extends the engine life of vehicles, and since autogas vehicles require fewer oil changes, they reduce vehicle maintenance costs and service downtime
- Municipal and state tax credits are available to help fleets transition to propane autogas
What are the environmental benefits of autogas vehicles versus gasoline vehicles?
Propane autogas has one of the lowest on-site emissions rates of any major energy source, and Autogas vehicles emit fewer harmful emissions than gasoline vehicles, including:
- 20 percent reduction in carbon monoxide
- 40 percent less nitrogen oxides
- 10 to 18 percent reduction in carbon monoxide
Is propane autogas safe?
When handled properly, propane autogas is as safe or safer than many other fuels:
- Autogas ignites at 920 to 1020 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to 495 to 535 for gasoline, meaning there is a decreased possibility that autogas will accidentally ignite
- Autogas only burns at a small fuel-to-air ratio, and it dissipates quickly into the open atmosphere, making ignition less likely
- Autogas is nontoxic, nonpoisonous and is insoluble in water, unlike gasoline, diesel, methanol and ethanol
Propane autogas vehicle tanks are rigorously tested to ensure their safety.
- Autogas vehicle tanks are 20 times more puncture resistant than gasoline tanks and can withstand four times the pressure when compared to conventional gasoline vehicle tanks
- Autogas tanks are tested to four times their standard operating pressure
- Properly installed autogas vehicle tanks actually help reinforce the vehicle′s structure
- Autogas vehicle tanks are constructed from carbon steel under code developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers
How does refueling propane autogas vehicles compare to refueling gasoline vehicles?
The process is essentially the same − the only difference is that instead of resting the nozzle in the fuel tank, the nozzle attaches securely to the vehicle. Refueling an propane autogas vehicle takes approximately 6 to 8 minutes, roughly the same amount of time it takes to refuel a gasoline vehicle.
Where can I fuel my propane autogas vehicles?
Fleets that convert their vehicles to autogas or purchase OEM Autogas vehicles have the opportunity to have a propane autogas fueling station installed at the home base. There are also more than 2,500 public propane autogas fueling stations across the U.S.
What is the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program?
The Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program is an alternative fuel project supported by funding from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act and the U.S. Department of Energy′s Clean Cities Program. The Program is managed and administered by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and Virginia Clean Cities at James Madison University.
Under the large-scale initiative, more than 1,200 vehicles from public and private fleets in 10 southeast states, Denver and Pittsburgh will be converted to propane autogas. Additionally, more than 30 propane autogas fueling stations will be implemented in the Southeast U.S. as part of this project.
What are the Program′s goals?
- Displace an estimated 15.7 million gallons of gasoline
- Eliminate an estimated 16,000 tons or more of airborne pollutants
- Create dozens of jobs
What is the Clean Cities Program?
Clean Cities strives to advance the nation′s economic, environmental and energy security by supporting local decisions to adopt practices that contribute to the reduction of petroleum consumption. The program has a network of 87 coalitions, which develop partnerships in the public and private sectors to promote alternative and renewable fuels, fuel economy measures, idle reduction technologies, and new technologies as they emerge.
What is the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act?
The Recovery Act was passed on February 13, 2009, and it was enacted as a direct response to the United States′ economic health. Its three immediate goals are:
- Create new jobs and save existing ones
- Spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth
- Foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending
The Recovery Act plans to achieve these goals by:
- Providing $288 billion in tax cuts and benefits for millions of working families and businesses
- Increasing federal funds for education and health care as well as entitlement programs (such as extending unemployment benefits) by $224 billion
- Making $285 billion available for federal contracts, grants and loans
- Requiring recipients of Recovery funds to report quarterly on how they are using the funds
What is the Propane GAS Act? How does it affect me?
The Propane Green Autogas Solutions Act (“Propane GAS Act”) of 2011 would provide a five year extension of federal incentives for the autogas industry. These include a 50-cent per gallon tax credit, an alternative fuel vehicle credit and a 30 percent credit on investment in alternative fuel infrastructure. These incentives have aided a national growth in alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure, thereby creating domestic jobs, improving air quality and offsetting gallons of foreign-sourced gasoline. You can read a study on the economic and environmental impact of the Propane GAS Act here.