Fleet Operators Looking at Propane Autogas

For fleet operators, the cost of fuel puts the brakes on their efforts to run at their most efficient. That has some operators looking at such alternative fuels as propane autogas, according to a new study.

Fleet operators spend about 90 percent of their operating costs every month on gasoline or diesel fuel, according to the annual study of fleet operating costs from Automotive Fleet magazine. This holds true for virtually every vehicle type that fleets use – compact and intermediate cars, vans, light trucks, and SUVs.

Here’s one example: A light truck that travels 24,000 to 48,000 miles a year will need about $421 every month to get filled with gasoline. That shouldn’t be a surprise as gas this year has averaged $3.64 per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The cost of alternative  fuels vary. Those seeking to make some comparisons can check out the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center. Researchers have to look carefully and consider other costs, such as oil and general maintenance, when making comparisons. Another source for researchers is the Railroad Commission of Texas, a utility regulator in the state. Its propane pages offers a review of operating costs for school buses and medium- and light-duty trucks.

When fleet managers see those comparisons, they start considering alternatives to gasoline and diesel, Automotive Fleet found.

“Many fleets see alternative-fuel vehicles as a long-term solution to rising fuel prices and fuel price volatility,” said Jayme Schnedeker, fuel product manager with GE Capital Fleet Services, one of the six large fleet operators that contributed to the study.

Schnedeker says propane autogas, compressed natural gas and electric vehicles are now the big three alternative fueling options for fleets.

For its study Automotive Fleet surveyed six of the largest firms in the commercial fleet management business and analyzed operating costs of 592,485 vehicles. Check out the story here.

Propane Today is a service of the Propane Education & Research Council.

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