Propane Autogas Fueling
Propane Autogas Fueling
Propane Autogas Fueling
Propane Autogas Fueling
Propane Autogas Fueling

Propane autogas accelerates fleet decarbonization today

June 8, 2022
While production of electric vehicles and infrastructure is growing, the current availability of the technology is leaving some fleets in the dark. Learn how propane autogas can be a solution.

During the height of the pandemic, when many of us were following stay-at-home orders, we saw a record drop in daily global carbon emissions by almost 17%. But now, as communities are back open and people are on the go, CO2 emissions are at the highest they’ve ever been in modern recorded history at more than 419 parts per million.

That’s a staggering number and one that should make any fleet owner or transportation director do a double-take. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, the highest priority must be to reduce CO2 pollution at the earliest possible date.”

Many new government regulations focus on full electrification for fleets to achieve this goal. But the rationale behind those proposals is based on the assumption that the electrical grid will be fully decarbonized in the near future. While that thinking is aspirational, that’s not realistic for today. In fact, right now, medium- and heavy-duty propane autogas vehicles provide a lower carbon footprint in 38 states when compared with similar electric vehicles charged from the electrical grid.

Today, thousands of fleets from coast to coast have already adopted propane autogas as a clean energy source that reduces emissions in their communities every day. Not to mention, propane autogas is also affordable and reduces more emissions per dollar spent than any other fuel.

And it’s only going to get better. Renewable propane, which has an even lower carbon intensity than conventional propane, is becoming more popular, and production is on the rise. In the near future, more and more of the propane autogas we use will be made from renewable sources.

If fleet owners and transportation directors want to make a difference in emissions in their community, they need to consider what they can do today that will make a difference well into the future. Propane autogas is that solution

What are the facts on propane autogas vs electric?

Prior to making the transition to any alternative fuel, there are several important factors fleet owners need to consider when determining which energy source is the best option for their fleet. In addition to the emissions profile, fleet owners must consider the costs required to install refueling or recharging infrastructure, the performance of the new vehicles, and the availability of the energy source.

What are the upfront costs?

Fleet owners and operators need to identify all visible and hidden costs that go along with refueling or recharging infrastructure installations because there are some dramatic differences between the two.

The cost to install infrastructure for 10 propane autogas vehicles with a single 1,000- to 2,000-gallon tank is up to $60,000, including as much as $36,000 for site preparation and equipment, and up to $24,000 for installation.

In comparison, the cost to set up infrastructure for 10 electric vehicles with five level 3 fast EV chargers is up to $480,000, including as much as $200,000 for site prep and equipment, and up to $280,000 for installation. Unlike propane autogas infrastructure, electric infrastructure will most likely have additional costs for items like electric sub-panels, added amperage to power multiple stations, and upgrading and replacing incoming power lines.

What additional costs might I incur?

As with any fuel alternative, there are additional costs associated with more than just the infrastructure. There are also the refueling/recharging costs themselves. Propane autogas refueling costs are stable throughout the year, and fleet managers can secure lower prices by securing a fuel contract. Electricity costs vary throughout the day and can increase if the demand for power exceeds a station’s capabilities. In comparison, propane autogas refueling stations also have lower annual maintenance costs than similar capacity electric vehicle recharging stations.

When you factor in the cost of a new vehicle, regardless of energy source and the costs for fuel, fluids, maintenance, and repairs over the lifetime of the vehicle, propane autogas has the lowest cost of any fuel for the lifetime of the vehicle.

How far will I need to drive on a single refuel or recharge?

As for performance, an electric shuttle has a full driving range of about 120 miles on a single charge, which is fine if the fleet is planned for short runs with little variation in its use. Bear in mind that operating any electric option while the vehicle is in use can diminish the driving range. This includes heat, air conditioning, windshield wipers, and the radio. Propane autogas shuttles feature proven technology that can provide a range of more than 400 miles on a single fill.

What is the emissions profile?

Thanks to emerging propane autogas technology, propane autogas is delivering near-zero-emissions for its customers. Ultra-low NOx propane engines are 90 percent cleaner than current standards mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In recent years, electric vehicles’ popularity has increased because the technology is perceived as clean and green with zero emissions. However, it is important to note that emissions may be created by the source of electric power generation or the fleet owner’s choice for required auxiliary heating options and should be included in the comparisons.

While both options exceed EPA mandated tailpipe emissions levels, there are some differences in emissions throughout the full emissions cycle of the vehicles. Propane autogas can emit up to 45 percent less particulate matter than electric vehicles from well-to-wheels.

Is the energy source currently available?

While production of electric vehicles and infrastructure is growing, the current availability of the technology is leaving some fleets in the dark. In some cases, the technology is still in the development stages. Unlike electric, propane autogas is a domestically produced, American-made fuel that is readily available. Engine vehicle technology innovation has ramped up in the last decade and is currently providing fleets with reliable performance

By keeping these costs and considerations in mind and making fact-based comparisons, fleet owners are more likely to make an informed and educated decision on the best alternative for their needs.

To learn more about the benefits of propane autogas, visit

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