Propane-Powered Vehicles

If you’ve driven in a metropolitan area recently, you may have seen buses or other commercial vehicles that were propane-powered. You may have also seen passenger vehicles or farm equipment that ran on propane. According to the Propane Education & Research Council, there are approximately 200,000 propane vehicles on the road in the United States. The majority of these vehicles are found in fleets, such as buses, municipal vehicles, and shuttles. In recent years, propane vehicles have included light- and medium-duty vehicles and now includes heavy-duty vehicles such as street sweepers and other utility vehicles. 

As these types of vehicles become more common, you may have some questions regarding these relatively new uses of propane.

propane powered bus

Propane Better Than Gasoline?

Although propane-fueled vehicles perform about the same as gas-powered ones when it comes to speed, power, acceleration, driving range and other factors, there are some differences. Propane fuel has a lower carbon content than gasoline and low oil contamination characteristics. These factors can increase engine life and lower maintenance costs. In addition, propane performs better than gasoline in cold weather situations, meaning your propane vehicle won’t have as many cold-start problems as a traditional one.

Are All Vehicles the Same?

Not all propane-powered vehicles are the same. Some come from the factory, ready for propane. With other vehicles, you convert them to run on propane. The vehicles that are designed to run on propane may only run on propane or are designated as a bi-fuel, meaning they can run on either gasoline or propane. If you are looking to convert your vehicle, it is strongly encouraged that you use the services of a Qualified System Retrofitter (QSR). Your vehicle will have to be EPA certified before you can use, so this is why a QSR should be used. 

The upfront costs of converting your vehicles to propane will be offset by lower operating and maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle. In addition, some states offer tax credits or grants to encourage propane conversions. For example, in Iowa, the High Quality Jobs Program offers state tax incentives. These incentives may include an investment tax credit equal to a percentage of the qualifying investment, a tax refund, or other exemptions. Refer to the High Quality Jobs Program website for details.

Which is Better for the Environment?

As stated earlier, propane has a lower carbon content than gasoline, along with diesel fuel. This lower carbon content means lower greenhouse emissions overall, with factors like the age and type of the vehicle and how it is used playing a part in the total output.

If you would like to learn more about propane and all that it can do for you and your business, contact the experts at Ammonia and Propane Solutions.