New Program to Produce 1,200 Propane Autogas Vehicles and 17 Refueling Stations in Southeast

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With $8.6 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program, coordinated by Alliance AutoGas and supported by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), will enhance energy security, promote a domestic alternative fuel, and create a cleaner environment by converting gasoline-powered vehicles to run on propane and by installing at least 17 propane refueling stations across nine southeast states.

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We are encouraged that this grant provides an opportunity to showcase the viability of autogas and its benefits

A new program to build propane refueling stations and convert 1,200 vehicles to propane kicked off with a meeting at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., last weekend.

With $8.6 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program, coordinated by Alliance AutoGas and supported by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), will enhance energy security, promote a domestic alternative fuel, and create a cleaner environment by converting gasoline-powered vehicles to run on propane and by installing at least 17 propane refueling stations across nine southeast states. Propane, when it is used to run on-road vehicles, is known worldwide as autogas.

Virginia Clean Cities, part of the nationwide network of Clean Cities Coalitions working to reduce petroleum consumption, and James Madison University will act as project managers. Alliance AutoGas’ founding partners, Blossman Gas and American Alternative Fuel, and certified conversion partners, will perform the vehicle conversions and provide both public and private fueling infrastructure. Vehicles in public and private fleets, including taxis, limousines, and vans, will be converted to run on propane.

"We are encouraged that this grant provides an opportunity to showcase the viability of autogas and its benefits," said Stuart Weidie, president of Alliance AutoGas. "Autogas is recognized as the number one alternative fuel worldwide. It's almost entirely domestically produced and is available right here, right now."

The vehicles converted under this program are projected to displace more than 15 million gallons of gasoline over four years, and since propane vehicles experience significantly lower emissions than gasoline and diesel vehicles, the project will reduce harmful emissions. Nearly 90 percent of propane supplies are produced in the United States, and 7 percent come from Canada.

“The rollout of this Alliance AutoGas project will result in the wider use of propane vehicles, which will help us reach our county’s environmental and national energy security goals,” said Brian Feehan, vice president of PERC.

The Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program will track the results of the conversions, including the number of gasoline gallons displaced and greenhouse gas emissions avoided. A comprehensive public website will be launched later in 2010 to display the details of the project.

Future road shows funded by PERC will offer state fleet and transportation managers the chance to test-drive some of these new propane-fueled vehicles.

PERC promotes the safe and efficient use of propane as an energy fuel for its cost-effectiveness, efficiency and productivity, reliability, portability, and environmental friendliness. For more information about PERC and its programs, please visit http://www.propanecouncil.org. For more information about Alliance AutoGas, please visit http://www.allianceautogas.com.

The Propane Education & Research Council was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of Public Law 104-284, the Propane Education & Research Act (PERA), signed into law on October 11, 1996. The mission of the Propane Education & Research Council is to promote the safe, efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source.

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