Almost two years after converting 14 vehicles to propane autogas from Blue Star Gas, Salem, Ore.-based Willamette Valley Medical Transport (WVT) has saved an average of $60,000 per year in fuel costs and, in turn, accelerated company growth.
The medical transport company says nearly half of its fleet has been converted from gasoline, including three Ford E-150 vans, eight Ford E-250 vans, one Ford E-350 van and two Chevrolet Express 3500 vans.
Blue Star Gas also installed a 500-gallon on-site propane autogas fueling station for WVT and maintains a regional network of refueling stations used by more than 400 customer vehicles. “Installing on-site refueling was a big selling point for us,” says Tim McClain, WVT founder. “Plus the other fueling locations are great for a transport route and a team that travels all over the area. Right now, we use our on-site station but also a Blue Star Gas station in McMinnville and the Prescott Chevron Station in Portland.”
WVT, which was founded 14 years ago with one wheelchair-accessible van, says it now operates a fleet of 30 vehicles and maintains a service area of more than 120 miles along the I-5 Corridor.
The paratransit fleet vehicles each travel about 30,000 miles per year, and, according to company founder Tim McClain, the fuel cost savings with propane autogas versus gasoline have allowed him to reinvest in the business.
“We're in a position now where I can pay cash for new vehicles instead of financing,” McClain adds. “Overall, the decision to convert [to propane autogas] has allowed us to accelerate our growth, and this year, we're growing a lot in Portland – about 25-30 percent more than last year.”