Saving money is the number one reason fleets make the switch to alternative fuel vehicles. But, they can also offer lower fuel costs, more MPG’s, and cleaner burning, longer lasting engines. For high-mileage fleet vehicles, this spells financial superiority over their gasoline and diesel counterparts. Add to this the benefits from adopting a domestic and green fuel source, and it becomes easy to see why fleets are choosing CNG, LNG and Propane.
Jerome Webber, the vice president of AT&T Global Fleet Operations, explains why his company has made the switch to compressed natural gas vehicles in an article with NGV Global. Webber says, “As the economy rises and falls with fuel prices, we have a responsibility to look for smart ways to reduce our costs. Putting 4,000 alternative-fuel vehicles on the road – including 3,000 compressed natural gas vehicles – is a significant statement about the ability of fleet operators to not only reduce costs, but also to cut vehicle emissions. Every alternative fuel vehicle on the road brings us closer to energy independence, and that’s good for our company and our country.”
Choosing an alternative fuel, like CNG or Propane, can be financially successful no matter the fleet’s type or size. Infrastructure availability may determine which fuel is best for you fleet. But, both fuels are priced well below gasoline and diesel, so no matter which fuel your fleet chooses, savings are inevitable.
As compressed natural gas becomes one of America’s most popular alternative fuels, stations are popping up across the country. As of June 2012, there were 1,047 CNG and 53 LNG public and private stations throughout the United States.
Depending on the size, type, and needs of a fleet, either public or private fueling infrastructure can be used. For smaller fleets, using a public station may make more sense. Many of these stations are reporting prices of around $1.50 to $2.00 less than current diesel prices. Fleets could immediately see their fuel costs cut in half.
Private stations, while requiring more on initial investment, can offer even greater return. Natural gas prices may be as low as 50 cents per gallon in some places, marking considerable savings well worth the investment. These stations also allow fleets to park and fuel vehicles overnight, and to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates.
Also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or autogas, propane been used for decades to power light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. This clean-burning, high-energy alternative fuel is the number one alternative fuel in the world, powering more than 17 million vehicles around the globe.
Propane production, storage, and bulk distributioncapabilities are widespread, as are public propane refueling stations. Fleets can also choose to have a propane autogas fueling station implemented at the home base for more convenient fueling.
There are many state and federal tax incentives to assist fleets in their alternative fuel transition. There are tax credits for infrastructure installation, for the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles, and for the amount of fuel used. NGV America and the Alternative Fuels Data Centeroffer helpful information keeping current on state and federal tax incentives.
Still not sure if alternative fuel vehicles are right for your fleet? The Business Case for Compressed Natural Gas in Municipal Fleets, by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, might be a helpful read. It discusses various applications where CNG can be a successful replacement to conventional fuels. The Clean Cities Vehicle and Infrastructure Cash-Flow Evaluation (VICE) Model can be a helpful tool in evaluating the return on investment and payback period for natural gas vehicles and fueling infrastructure for your fleet.
Many corporations, airports, schools, and municipalities across the country are reaping the benefits of natural gas and Propane. Their domestic availability, widespread distribution infrastructure, low cost compared with gasoline and diesel, and clean-burning qualities make it a wise choice for America, and the natural choice for America’s fleets.