The Clean Start Propane Refueling, Vehicle Incentive & Outreach Program – one of two major propane autogas initiatives spurred by the federal stimulus package in 2009 – has come to a close.
All told, the program resulted in the creation of 85 public-access propane autogas refueling facilities and the conversion of nearly 700 propane vehicles.
Texas State Technical College (TSTC) was the administrator of the $12 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, spearheading the program and handling the education and outreach that accompanied the work. CleanFUEL USA acted as the key autogas equipment provider and installer, as well as led all of the training that was needed in concert with the new refueling stations and propane vehicles.
The 85th autogas location was built in Charleston, W.Va., at an Exxon Mobil station. Dozens of facilities preceded it, most notably 37 stations built specifically in partnership with Menards home improvement stores and Ferrellgas. All but one of these refueling sites are located at existing Menards stores in Illinois.
Among the core pieces of equipment at these Menards stations and the several more in the U.S. – including in Wisconsin, California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Washington, Indiana, Colorado, Ohio, Michigan and New Hampshire – are CleanFUEL USA PRO2110 fuel dispensers and propane tanks provided by Ferrellgas and other fuel suppliers.
CleanFUEL USA's Crystelle Markley told NGT News that more than half of the 690 vehicles converted under the program were new school buses – mainly Type A units from Collins that were built on GM chassis with 6.0-liter engines. School fleets in Seattle; Portland, Ore.; a handful of Texas cities; and other spots in the U.S. rolled out new propane buses.
Aftermarket propane vehicle conversions were also a part of the Clean Start Propane Refueling, Vehicle Incentive & Outreach Program, with CleanFUEL USA and its partners installing autogas kits – mostly from IMPCO – on light-duty vehicles.
For instance, the municipal fleet in Springfield, Ill., took delivery of a number of Ford F-150 trucks that were converted to propane, and Texas-based Fashion Glass & Mirror LLC worked with CleanFUEL USA and Fontaine Alternative Fuels to shift 40 of its trucks to autogas.
Photo: A propane autogas refueling site in Waterloo, Ind. Courtesy of CleanFUEL USA.