More than 23 million vehicles in the world run on propane autogas, making it the third most widely used fuel on Earth. That figure continues to grow as more fleet operators and vehicle owners around the globe discover the cost savings and environmental benefits of switching from gasoline. The rapid growth in the autogas sector is good news for North Carolina-based Alliance AutoGas, the only company in the United States offering fleets a complete solution for converting their vehicles to autogas. President Stuart Weidie says the company has experienced robust growth since its inception in 2009, and it looks to continue that success in the years to come thanks to its technical expertise, reliability and the growing popularity of its core products.

There are many companies in the compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling products market, but TruStar Energy stands above them thanks to its extensive background in the trucking industry, Vice President of Sales Scott Edelbach says. “That’s an advantage for us that resonates with our customers.

“Our approach to designing and building CNG fueling infrastructure revolves around our in-house teams of professional engineers [PEs] and construction crews,” Edelbach says. “That means we don’t have any delays due to miscues between subcontractors. It also means we can build the stations faster – which allows our customers to take advantage of lower-cost CNG fuel faster.”

A lot more goes into running local government than many people realize. Take, for example, Prince George’s County in Maryland. The county employs about 7,000 workers and has an annual budget of $2.7 billion, all to serve a population of nearly 900,000 in 20 towns and cities.

Few ever consider how many vehicles are needed for such an entity – 4,300, to be exact, which are used by 18 county agencies, 12 municipalities, 40 volunteer fire departments and two nonprofit organizations. Police cars, ambulances, administrative sedans, garbage trucks, landfill equipment, highway maintenance vehicles, senior citizen buses — the list goes on. And it takes a lot of fuel to run them.

For Ozinga Brothers Inc., the decision to move from diesel fuel to compressed natural gas (CNG) for its fleet of concrete mixer trucks and other vehicles was a fairly easy one. “In 2011, we began to do research and look at what our options were regarding purchasing new equipment, and saw that diesel trucks were becoming more highly regulated,” says Tim Ozinga, a co-owner and director of marketing communications for the Mokena, Ill.-headquartered ready-mix concrete company. “At the time, the technology for CNG was becoming more advanced, and we saw it working well for companies in the refuse industry, so we considered it a good option.”

The company’s previous purchase of diesel trucks came in 2006, just before federal and state legislation regarding emissions standards began to phase in. The requirement to outfit diesel trucks with expensive particulate filters in particular helped motivate the company’s switch once the time to purchase new equipment once again came around. 

Ron Latko has overseen a number of major fleet-related projects during his 26 years working in transportation-related roles, but says his most successful endeavor is the one he’s currently overseeing. 

“I’ve been around for a long time and managed a lot of projects, but no matter how much you think things through, something that you didn’t consider will come along and present a challenge,” says Latko, director of transportation for Mesa (Ariz.) Public Schools. “This project has gone so smoothly it’s been unreal.” 

The school district began an effort in 2011 to convert its bus fleet from diesel fuel to propane. The district now operates 90 propane-fueled buses, and plans to fully convert its fleet of 544 buses to the alternative fuel before 2025. Mesa Public Schools that year also purchased two permanent 18,000-gallon tanks and a portable 1,000-gallon tank to fuel its fleet. A third 18,000-gallon tank will be installed later this year. “We’re ahead of schedule, and everything is working perfectly,” Latko adds.

For fleet operators across the country, the tightening of diesel emission standards became a significant issue in 2009, when new federal guidelines were approved to curb greenhouse gases. For California in general and Los Angeles in particular, air quality has been on the radar for much longer, as the city has been designated a severe non-attainment area by the Environment Protection Agency for its air pollution for decades.

“There is enormous political pressure for the city to clean up its air quality,” says John Drayton, manager of vehicle technology for LA Metro, the city’s bus and rail transit agency. “It’s not just our board under this pressure – there’s long been a push to go toward the cleanest technology available. It’s just part of the LA political DNA.”

Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) has spent the past five years modernizing and researching more efficient ways to provide public transportation to the city’s commuters. 

Mass transit in Knoxville dates back to 1876 when the first streetcars of the Knoxville Street Railway Co. were pulled by horses and mules along tracks on Gay Street. In 1890, the streetcars were converted from animal to electric power and the first electric streetcar traveled from Gay Street to Lake Ottosee. Knoxville had progressed by 1910 to operate 42 miles of track and carry 11 million passengers per year. The first buses began operation in 1929 and by 1947, electric streetcars made their last run. “The last rail car was completely restored and sits in the East Tennessee Historical Society museum in Knoxville on Gay Street,” Chief Maintenance Officer Si McMurray says. 

Today, KAT operates two fleets: demand-response, which operates 24 vans to transport people in need who qualify through an application process, and fixed route, which operates 72 buses along 24 pre-planned routes. According to a recent study conducted by the transit system, 10,600 riders board a KAT bus during an average weekday. Of that number, 40 percent are job-related riders, 21 percent are shoppers, 13 percent are students and nine percent ride to get to medical treatment centers.

California has a reputation for being on the leading-edge of sustainability and green initiatives, so to be recognized as one of the greenest vehicle fleets in the state puts Alameda County in the upper echelon not only in California but all of North America. For the fifth time, Alameda County’s vehicle fleet was recognized as one of the 40-greenest fleets in North America by Green Fleet Magazine. California had 12 counties represented on the top-40 list, none ranked higher than Alameda County. 

Alameda County’s Board of Supervisors provides strong leadership in sustainability efforts for the county, which includes several Bay Area cities, including the city of Oakland. The County has been incorporating green vehicles into its fleet since the 1990s, according to Transportation Services Manager Douglas Bond. Along the way, the county has added vehicles to its fleet including electric cars, hybrid vehicles and even cars that run on recycled vegetable oil. Today, the county’s fleet includes 175 hybrids and 21 electric vehicles, which the county says save it more than $200,000 per year in fuel costs. Bond says the county’s consistent presence on the top-40 list is proof that its approach is strong. “It’s definitely a great honor to be recognized,” he says. 

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