By the end of April, the Unified Government (UG) of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, will have converted 13 Ford E-450 paratransit buses and two F-150 pickup trucks to propane autogas fuel. This conversion project will allow the UG to better budget its fuel spend. With these conversions, the UG expects to save at least $100,000 in annual fuel costs.
“We are thrilled to be on the forefront of this emerging technology,” said UG Fleet Manager Merle McCullough, CAFM, also project manager for the conversion program. “Our main objectives were to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, reduce our carbon footprint, and save the transit patrons from any possible increase in fares due to rising fuel costs.”
Through a partnership with Ferrell Gas, the UG is able to lock in an annual savings less than half the cost of gasoline. The conversion to propane replaces more than 50,000 gallons of gasoline currently being used annually. Ferrellgas is supplying the fuel station and dispenser and providing propane safety training for staff. The conversion costs nearly $9,000 per vehicle, but the UG will not incur any of the capitol expense. The project is being paid through funds remaining from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (ECBG), which was awarded to the UG in 2010.
In addition to the annual savings in fuel costs, vehicles running on propane-autogas produce fewer harmful emissions.
The conversion to propane is part of an ongoing initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s government-industry partnership Clean Cities program.
The UG upgraded its fleet just last year with the purchase of several new buses, part of an ongoing effort by the UG to reduce costs and improve operations.
The UG is using the ICOM JTG II bi-fuel sytems on the gasoline vehicles. The UG is in the process of converting one Class 8 truck using the ICOM JTG diesel bi-fuel technology, as well as several Ford Interceptor Utility vehicles throughout its public safety departments.