Falling gasoline prices have some Americans asking whether investment in alternative fuel vehicles should continue. U.S. gas prices are down 25% for the year, falling around $2.00 per gallon in some areas of the country. It may be easy to forget that regular gasoline peaked at nearly $4.00 per gallon just last June, and that, most importantly, prices are likely to rise again. But, Alkane Truck Company, an OEM of natural gas powered vehicles, is hoping to prove to Americans that the benefits of their alternative fuel trucks remain. Steve Rayborn, Vice President of Global Sales, is making the case for Propane Autogas amid lower gasoline prices.
“We hear it all the time. Folks think that Alternative Fuel Vehicles cost more. But, that’s just not true. Our Propane Autogas-powered trucks cost the same or less than a gasoline or diesel truck. Plus, you see lower emissions, a cleaner burning engine, and there are several tax incentives available depending on where you live,” Rayborn says.
In fact, tax incentives are quite substantial in several states around the country. In Texas, for example, incentives for the purchase of a new natural gas vehicle can total upwards of $9,500.
Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) and Fueling Infrastructure Grants
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) administers the NGV Grant Program (Program) as part of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan. The Program provides grants to replace existing medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with new, converted, or re-powered NGVs.
Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) and Fueling Infrastructure Rebates – Texas Gas Service
The Texas Gas Service Conservation Program offers a rebate of up to $2,000 for the purchase of a qualified NGV or $3,000 for the conversion of a gasoline powered vehicle to operate on natural gas.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Propane) Vehicle and Equipment Incentive – Propane Council of Texas
Propane vehicle incentives are available to private fleets with three or more vehicles that have not previously used propane as motor fuel. New dedicated propane vehicles and aftermarket conversions are eligible for an incentive equal to the incremental cost, up to $7,500.
In addition to vehicle purchase incentives, the state of Texas is offering grant programs for the construction of Propane Autogas (LPG) infrastructure and stations. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) administers the Alternative Fueling Facilities Program (AFFP) as part of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan. AFFP provides grants for 50% of eligible costs, up to $600,000, to construct, reconstruct, or acquire a facility to store, compress, or dispense alternative fuels in Texas air quality non attainment areas.
Fortunately, propane storage, and bulk distribution capabilities already exist across most of the U.S. That means establishing propane fueling infrastructure for vehicle refueling only requires the build-out of dispensing equipment—the storage tank, pump, dispenser, and card reader at a station. If a new facility is needed, however, even the upfront construction cost of a new propane infrastructure is very affordable. Establishing private infrastructure includes purchasing and installing the necessary equipment for dispensing propane and typically runs from $25,000 to $37,000, but varies based on situation and need. In some cases a propane supplier will install the propane equipment to a fleet based upon the amount of fuel used for virtually free. This falls way short of the millions typically needed for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) infrastructure projects, making propane Autogas (LPG) the ideal alternative fuel for local delivery companies.
A significantly lower base price is the cornerstone of Alkane truck Company’s success. The company is currently finalizing engineering and durability testing on a dedicated propane Autogas (LPG) powered class 7 truck model. Headquartered in Myrtle Beach, SC, Alkane’s integration and assembly is completed in the company’s 100,000 sq. ft. facility in Summerville, South Carolina. The class 7 model will be sold through Alkane’s established dealer network in the USA, Mexico, Caribbean, and Canada, and will be initially marketed for uses in beverage and propane delivery.