With the current strong economy and low unemployment rates, many fleet owners report difficulty with hiring and retaining drivers. If you’re looking for drivers, you might start with your vehicles’ fuel tank.
Fleets, transit systems and school districts that have made the switch to propane autogas-fueled trucks and buses say the fuel is a game-changer. Schwan’s Home Service, one of the country’s larger privately owned fleets, says propane vehicles make drivers more comfortable. “Propane-powered vehicles are much quieter than equivalent diesel-powered vehicles, which leads to higher driver satisfaction,” said Ron Moore, vice president of warehouse and fleet operations for Schwan’s. The company has operated propane vehicles for more than 40 years.
School districts rely on propane, too, for alleviating some of the challenges of driving a school bus. The propane buses’ better performance, quieter ride, ease of training and less fumes make them popular among operators. “The drivers who have them don’t want their propane buses taken away,” said Michelle Embrey, transportation director for the Neosho School District in Missouri. “When drivers can hear student conversations in the back of the bus, it adds to safety and comfort.”
Propane autogas vehicles have an impact behind the scenes, too. Mechanics like the easy maintenance and the fact that propane fuel systems don’t require the complicated filters and fuel treatments that go along with clean diesel systems. With propane, there are no cold-start issues, which means no block heaters or extended warm-up idling.
Money goes a long way, too
As Fleet Owner has noted previously, increased pay is a draw for new drivers. Propane vehicles can help stretch fleet budgets to accommodate rising personnel costs. Streamlined maintenance versus clean diesel, lower prices at the pump and the lowest infrastructure costs of any alternative fuel add up to savings.
Pair better compensation with the creature comforts of propane vehicles and you have a formula for attracting — and retaining — drivers.