Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS), a healthcare provider located in Spartanburg, S.C., has been finding success with propane autogas over the years.
In 2013, SRHS began looking for an alternative fuel option for its fleets in order to help the region meet emissions criteria. SRHS’ director of transportation services, Jimmy Riley, says, “The hospital had, from the president down, been looking at several different emissions reducing programs for our fleets, and autogas came out as the fuel of choice.”
SRHS started working with Alliance AutoGas (AAG) in March 2013. The hospital chose to convert cutaway (wheelchair-equipped) buses and courier vehicles first. AAG technicians performed the conversions on-site in one bay of the hospital’s existing garage and then trained SRHS fleet technicians to perform future maintenance. AAG also installed tanks and fueling infrastructure in 2014. On-site refueling includes large-capacity fuel storage tanks equipped with a pump, a meter and one or more dispensers.
One major bonus of using an alternative fuel for SRHS vehicles is that autogas and the refueling process are independent of electricity, notes AAG. This allows SRHS to have a fuel supply in the event of a disaster. AAG says SRHS has the nation’s only hospital fleet designated as a general mass transit provider, which serves Spartanburg County.
In 2018, the hospital fleet provided emergency transport during Hurricane Florence. SRHS sent a bus to Myrtle Beach to assist with patient evacuation, as well as two ambulances to Horry County to assist with 911 calls. Riley says, “Autogas is a very reliable fuel. We have never had a vehicle breakdown as a result of using this fuel, which is important considering our success as a fleet system depends on reliably and efficiently transporting people to medical and other services they need.”
AAG says it is looking forward to seeing more healthcare systems follow the progressive example set by SRHS.
“SRHS has an outstanding team that is committed to serving the community of Spartanburg and the surrounding area. The staff at SRHS is great to work with in regards to their autogas program,” says Happy Fox, alternative fuel consultant for AAG. “Our autogas program secures source of fuel for their fleet during times of emergencies. SRHS has traveled in other parts of South Carolina to provide transit service to those needing to be transferred away from the areas affected by an emergency.”
SRHS has plans to convert each new vehicle it acquires. Riley says, “It’s a win-win for us due to reduced emissions, coupled with financial savings and on-site fueling convenience.”