The Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon has saved $25,000 in fuel costs plus $8,000 in federal tax credits, and eliminated 67,400 pounds of greenhouse gases, 18 months after converting its gasoline patrol vehicles to propane autogas.
In March 2013, the department converted 10 patrol vehicles to propane autogas and installed a 1,000-gallon on-site fueling station.
Polk County detective Sgt. Mark Garton, who manages the department’s fleet, says the office’s biggest expense besides personnel is fuel. “So, if we save $1.50 to $2.00 per gallon and we run 25,000 miles or more a year per car, that’s a lot of money.”
West Coast propane distributor Blue Star Gas provides the department with its on-site fueling infrastructure, ongoing safety training and technical support.
According to Garton, deputies reported no change in vehicle performance after the switch to propane autogas. He says cars get “more oomph” out of the propane fuel.
As a result of the fuel savings, the department has been able to strategically deploy funding to other areas of need.
According to the Propane Education & Research Council, propane-autogas-powered vehicles can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 percent and reduce smog-producing hydrocarbon emissions by an estimated 40 percent in light-duty vehicles compared with gasoline-fueled vehicles.
Last month the EPA certified Power Solutions International’s 8.8-liter propane and natural gas fueled engine for on-highway applications including school and transit buses, recreational vehicles, vocational trucks, tow and utility trucks, garbage trucks and delivery fleets.
The company says the new 8.8 liter engine solves two key problems in today’s alternative fuel engine market: the limited range of available platforms, and the quality and performance shortcomings of current products.