Speaker touts benefits of propane 

MERRILLVILLE | Propane was touted as a functional, clean, alternative fuel Thursday during the latest Tweaks in Technology event hosted by South Shore Clean Cities.

Dan Martin, director of sales and marketing for propane company AmeriGas, talked about the benefits, availability and growth of propane in the U.S. while speaking to local fleet decision makers at the Purdue Technology Center in Merrillville.

"Its performance is superior to what we've seen in previous generations," Martin said of propane.

Propane powers 14 million vehicles in the world and about 200,000 in the U.S., Martin said.

Propane is used widely for school and shuttle buses, taxis and light-duty trucks. Martin, who drives a propane-fueled pickup truck, said the vehicles are crash-tested, have no cold-starting issues and are safer than the gas equivalent while getting about the same mileage.

Fleet managers also qualify for a 50 cents per gallon federal tax credit. Some fleet managers currently are fueling their vehicles for less than $1.50 per gallon after factoring in the tax credit, according to the propane-vehicle manufacturer Roush.

In addition to transportation, propane is growing in popularity in the lawn care sector.

"Lawn care is very big," he said. "Small engines are a huge pollutant source."

Martin said it makes sense for sites like college campuses to use propane for shuttle vehicles and the schools' lawn care equipment.

"It also enables them to mow on ozone action days," he said.

South Shore Clean Cities co-coordinator Carl Lisek said inviting speakers such as Martin furthers the group's goal in northern Indiana of reducing independence on foreign oil.

"AmeriGas being one of the largest providers of propane in the United States: They're a great partner in helping us achieve our goals," he said. "We do see some opportunities for our communities and businesses to start implementing this alternative fuel."

The mission of South Shore Clean Cities, a nonprofit public-private partnership, is to facilitate the creation of an alternative fuels industry for transportation, according to its website.

For more information, visit www.southshorecleancities.org.

- Rob Earnshaw


Click here to view the story at the Northwest Indiana Times.

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