Work trucks fueled by autogas (liquid petroleum gas) offer cost effectiveness and high performance, two reasons why many fleets across the country have adopted them.
Another reason is easy refueling, which can be done through on-site dispensing installed on a company's premises or at a public refueling location.
As fleets add vehicles fueled by autogas, they can work with propane providers to develop a refueling approach that meets their specific needs. Propane providers also train vehicle operators on safe refueling procedures.
Autogas is a readily available engine fuel, and propane providers across the country are available to help fleets develop a strategic on-site refueling approach. Propane providers make it easy to install on-site dispensing, as they provide information to fleet managers about the advantages of both owning and leasing infrastructure, allowing them to make an informed decision.
On-site dispensing systems, which include a large tank and a no-spill dispenser, are compact and easy to install in a central location. This makes refueling convenient for fleets by eliminating off-site trips for drivers.
A variety of tank sizes and dispensing pumps are available. On-site dispensing also can be upgraded as a fleet grows.
Propane providers will work with local municipalities and states to ensure installed infrastructure meets state and local regulations. Installation cost for an on-site autogas dispensing system is comparable to the cost of installing a gasoline or diesel station.
Depending on the infrastructure type, initial installation work may only take a few weeks.
After installing on-site dispensing, propane providers will train owners, managers and drivers on proper refueling safety procedures. They also instruct a fleet's on-site trainers on proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and share other safety materials.
Vehicle refueling is a straightforward process for fleet managers and operators who use appropriate refueling techniques and follow safety procedures. PERC advises vehicle operators follow these refueling steps:
- Always wear appropriate PPE, like gloves and eyewear. Inspect the vehicle's autogas fuel tank to ensure it is in proper working condition, and make sure the ignition is off.
- Set the meter to zero, and connect the motor fuel hose to the tank valve.
- Start the fuel pump and slowly open the valve at the end of the hose.
- When the overfill protection device stops the fuel flow, immediately close the valve on the end of the hose and shut off the fuel pump.
- Slowly disconnect from the tank by loosening the filler adapter and wait until autogas stops venting before completely disconnecting the adapter.
- Inspect the valve for leaks and replace the dust cap.
These steps should not be considered a substitute for safety training courses offered by a propane provider.
Stuart Flatow is the vice president of safety and training for the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). www.autogasusa.org. Authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1996, PERC's mission is to promote the safe, efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source through research and development, training and safety initiatives.