Aaron Marsh/Fleet Owner
Clock is ticking Stephen Holland right foreground an equipment application engineer at Blossman Services Inc and Stacey Snyder a Blossman conversion technician get started converting the Ford F150 to LPG

We can convert to propane faster, Alliance says — then proves it

March 8, 2016
In the fastest recorded alternative fuel conversion to propane autogas — indeed, beating the company's own target time by a significant margin — Alliance AutoGas technicians converted a Ford F-150 in 1:32:25 at the 2016 NTEA Work Truck Show.

In the fastest recorded alternative fuel conversion to propane autogas — indeed, beating the company's own target time by a significant margin — Alliance AutoGas technicians converted a Ford F-150 in 1:32:25 last week at the NTEA Work Truck Show.

Alliance technicians Stephen Holland and Stacey Snyder installed the company's new engineered conversion system on a bi-fuel 2016 3.5L Ford F-150 V6 nearly half an hour faster than a predicted 2 hour time; earlier expectations were for "less than 3 hours," and the company noted that typical conversions can take up to 7.

Alliance AutoGas President Stuart Weidie talks propane before the F-150 timed conversion gets started at the 2016 NTEA Work Truck Show — click to enlarge. (Aaron Marsh/Fleet Owner)

"With the installation, variability is essentially eliminated. All the components and hoses are cut specifically to length; all the bracketing is already done when the system is shipped for the conversion," Stuart Weidie, president of Alliance AutoGas, told Fleet Owner at the event. "All those components are in the package and are much easier to install, and it takes a third of the time that it used to two years ago."

Alliance's fuel system features a single-plug wiring connector and 21-gal. underbody liquefied propane gas (LPG) tank. All wiring is "plug and play" with no cuts to make, according to Alliance, and the system is bracketed and designed to be installed without drilling or fabrication. The features allow for significantly reduced labor times and conversion costs.

Weidie noted that right now, the company's top-selling conversion for fleets is for the Ford Transit van: "It's a very popular model for us, and the E-Series was popular also prior to that, and we do quite a bit with the F-250, F-350 and F-450 as well."

Fleets' savings with LPG will depend on miles driven, but "over the past eight years up until the last nine months, we averaged $1.35 less per gallon of propane than gasoline," Weidie pointed out. "Today, even with gasoline prices down considerably, we're selling propane between $0.85 and $0.90 per gallon to fleets.

Blossman Services' Stephen Holland dives underhood during the Ford F-150 conversion — click to enlarge. (Aaron Marsh/Fleet Owner)

"So in general, if you're driving 30,000-40,000 mi. per year — depending on the vehicle platform, mpg and your operating profile — you're going to save somewhere between $4,000 and $5,000 on an annual basis per vehicle," Weidie said.

"We are also confident in saying that fleets can experience a positive ROI with a partial asset life when reduced conversion costs are coupled with low, stable fuel prices as well as our warranty that doubles the industry standard," added Ed Hoffman, president of Blossman Services, Inc., the equipment distributor for Alliance AutoGas.

Raising awareness

In early May, the converted F-150 is scheduled to embark on a 5,300-mi. trip from Kansas City, KS, to Portland, OR, and on to Jacksonville, FL, and ultimately finishing in Asheville, NC, on May 20. The Alliance AutoGas Clean Air Coast-to-Coast Ride, supported by partners and sponsors, "will show real-time results of a cleaner, domestically produced and cost effective fuel option for fleets," according to the company.

The trip also is meant to boost public and industry awareness of propane autogas' ability to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and black carbon particulate matter.

About the Author

Aaron Marsh

Before computerization had fully taken hold and automotive work took someone who speaks engine, Aaron grew up in Upstate New York taking cars apart and fixing and rewiring them, keeping more than a few great jalopies (classics) on the road that probably didn't deserve to be. He spent a decade inside the Beltway covering Congress and the intricacies of the health care system before a stint in local New England news, picking up awards for both pen and camera.

He wrote about you-name-it, from transportation and law and the courts to events of all kinds and telecommunications, and landed in trucking when he joined FleetOwner in July 2015. Long an editorial leader, he was a keeper of knowledge at FleetOwner ready to dive in on the technical and the topical inside and all-around trucking—and still turned a wrench or two. Or three. 

Aaron previously wrote for FleetOwner. 

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