PDT Staff Writer
Access Scioto County (ASC) is in the process of converting their bus fleet to one day run on propane. Once the conversion is complete, it’s expected to save the public transportation agency on fuel costs.
“We’ve got six converted and we are waiting for a few more. This was a suggestion that came from one of our board members,” Larry Mullins, ASC Administrator said. “We’ve been able to establish a real good working relationship Arrick’s Propane. We are buying the propane at about a $1.73 a gallon, that has saved us a lot of money. The conversion is a little expensive but, overtime you’ll recover that.”
Mullins said one of the nice things about using propane is that they are able to lock-in the price per-gallon for a year.
“All of the propane we get is coming from right across the river. It’s 100 percent local fuel. I have not been able to find a negative about this yet,” Mullins said. “The emissions are about 40 -60 percent less, we’re putting less pollutants in the air.”
He said one of the benefits of converting the buses is flexibility.
“The nice thing about the conversion is that it will run on propane or gas. Let’s say you are out in the county, picking someone up. If the propane runs out, it automatically switches over to gas and never misses a beat and the driver loses no power,” Mullins said.
He said a full tank of propane will typically run about 200 miles.
“Usually a driver will do about 200 miles a day. Usually the drivers will fill up in the morning and by the next morning they are ready to fill up again,” Mullins said.
He said when a bus is ready to retire the conversion equipment could be transferred to the new bus and be used for the same purpose.
Mullins said since ASC has begun converting their fleet in 2012 they have seen their fuel costs reduced by a third.
“As we convert more and more of the fleet gets converted, we will see more savings and we will cover our initial investment faster,” Mullins said.
Mullins said when the U.S. Government enacted the sequester an alternative fuel tax credit was added in, that gave people credit that used propane.
“We got about $800 or $900 back from the federal highway tax we have to pay (which is the only tax they have to pay). So, the rebate knocked the price down even cheaper,” Mullins said.
For more information about Access Scioto County and there many services, visit http://www.asctransit.org/.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.