Allegan County Transportation is now running seven new buses powered by propane autogas to help the county meet air quality attainment goals and save taxpayer dollars.
“This month, Allegan County Transportation is excited to embark on propane autogas implementation for a number of reasons, including the improved air quality for all Allegan County residents along with substantial cost savings,” said Whitney Ehresman, Allegan County transportation director.
Propane autogas is a nontoxic, non-carcinogenic and non-corrosive fuel that poses no harm to groundwater or soil. The Environmental Protection Agency’s classifies the fuel as a non-contaminant. Vehicles operated by propane autogas emit fewer greenhouse gases, less nitrogen oxides, less carbon monoxide and fewer particulate emissions compared with other fuels. Results from a study from West Virginia University’s Center of Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions show propane buses reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 96 percent.
“The new propane vehicles, comprising a quarter of the county’s public transit fleet vehicles, are being used to serve our citizens,” said Dan Wedge, executive director of services for Allegan County. “The Board of Commissioner’s strategic plan includes ongoing expansion of transportation services county wide.”
The county estimates it will save about 50 percent on fuel costs and up to 70 percent on maintenance costs.
“Propane autogas is a popular alternative fuel choice because propane vehicles have lower lifetime ownership costs, reduce maintenance burdens and help fleets meet upcoming emissions standards,” said Todd Mouw, executive vice president of ROUSH CleanTech, the propane technology manufacturer.
Allegan County Transportation’s propane buses, which are 90 percent cleaner than the Environmental Protection Agency’s current emissions standard, better prepare the county for additional national emissions requirements set to be implemented in 2024 and 2027.
“With propane vehicles, everyone benefits. Citizens, maintenance staff, drivers and taxpayers — everyone wins,” Wedge said.
There are more than 1,500 propane-powered transit vehicles operating in transit agencies around the nation, including Boyne City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lapeer and Saginaw in Michigan.