The Rhoads Energy family of companies – a provider of heating fuel, HVAC and fleet fueling services in central Pennsylvania – plans to switch its gasoline and diesel fleet of vehicles to propane autogas.
Rhoads is transitioning to a program to lease new vehicles from Enterprise Fleet, many of which will be powered by propane autogas. The first vehicles – seven Ford Transit service vans and one Ford Explorer – were upgraded with propane fuel kits. The vehicles will be serviced by specially trained, local technicians at Chapman Ford in Lancaster and Stoner Wade Ford in Quarryville. The vehicles will fuel at GR Mitchell in Willow Street, Pa., which recently received approval for public propane autogas fueling at its fill station.
The company – which has firsthand experience helping school districts convert bus fleets to propane – expects to have a fleet of more than 20 propane autogas vehicles on the road in 2020. Rhoads operates several regional brands, including E.G. Smith Inc., Boyertown Oil & Propane and V.R. Boltz. All will incorporate propane autogas service vehicles into their fleets.
Rhoads has taken advantage of Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants, a state Department of Environmental Protection program that will enable the company to defray part of the cost of converting vehicles and constructing propane autogas stations.
“We’re going to realize significant savings with our new fleet, and we hope other companies will look at our experience and consider a transition of their own,” says Michael DeBerdine III, CEO of Rhoads. “There’s plenty of evidence, both locally and nationally, that propane-powered vehicles are better for our environment and better for a company’s bottom line.”
“Rhoads Energy has embraced alternative, clean transportation and has successfully secured grant funding through state initiatives,” adds Tony Bandiero, executive director of the Eastern PA Alliance for Clean Transportation. “We are pleased to count Rhoads as one of our stakeholders and, in fact, in 2018, presented the company with our Alternative Fuel Visionary Award.”