Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Virtual Tour: Collins Bus plant

Click here to take a spin through Collins Bus Corp.’s South Hutchinson, Kansas, facility to get a glimpse of how the company's Type A school buses are built and tested.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Watch our founder take the ice bucket challenge!

This afternoon, founder Curtis Donaldson accepted the ‪#‎IceBucketChallenge‬ to help ‪#‎StrikeOutALS‬! Listen closely, Michael Williams (Texas Education Agency), Eddie Conger (International Leadership of Texas), Stuart Weidie (Alliance AutoGas/Blossman Gas), Joe Thompson (Roush CleanTech), and David Lugar (National Propane Gas Association/AmeriGas Propane)! You have 24hrs to meet the challenge! 

For those interested in making a contribution, please visit the ALS facebook page here: The ALS Association.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Vehicle Service Pros: Propane autogas yields savings and environmental benefits to Illinois’ capital city

As operational and traditional costs continue to rise for municipalities to expand and manage light duty vehicle fleets, the decision to choose an alternative fuel is often easy, as this helps support a city’s economic and environmental goals.
The City of Springfield, IL, desired lower fuel costs, decreased maintenance intervals and longer life of vehicle engines to better utilize taxpayer dollars. As well, it sought to benefit the environment through cleaner vehicle engine emissions and utilization of a domestically produced and abundant fuel source.
As one of 22 municipalities recognized as “top energy performers” in green power, energy efficiency and conservation by the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Smarter Cities Project, it was not surprising when the capital city chose to convert vehicles to propane autogas.
NRDC is an environmental action group. Its Smarter Cities Project develops and promotes approaches to address important specific issues that affect quality of life and the long-term health of cities.
Propane autogas refers to liquid petroleum gas (LPG) when it is used in an on-road engine. Propane autogas is nontoxic, colorless and virtually odorless. An identifying odor is added so it can be readily detected.


Springfield converted 24 police patrol cars and pickup trucks with the help of CleanFUEL USA, an industry leader in propane autogas fleets and fueling infrastructure (www.cleanfuelusa.com). Last year, the company installed an on-site refueling station with its P2100 propane autogas dispenser to fuel the vehicles.
The P2100 is a simple-to-use dispenser with all the electronic functionality of bigger retail dispensers. Plus, it communicates to most fuel management systems.
City leaders structured the pilot program around utilization of both federal and state grants, as well as a public/private partnership with their fuel supplier. In turn, the city paid nothing for the conversions of its first 24 vehicles and the refueling station.


“It was obvious to us from the beginning that propane autogas was the best and most cost effective alternative fuel for the type of assets we wished to convert,” says William D. McCarty, finance director for the City of Springfield. “Propane autogas presented the best opportunity to precipitously decrease fuel, capital and maintenance costs, while emitting less greenhouse gases with an American-made fuel.” 
On average, propane has been less than half of the cost of traditional fuel, and the city has experienced significant fuel savings in a relatively short period of time.
The city originally approximated a first annual fuel cost savings of $82,000. It now anticipates slightly diminished planned savings to a level of around $70,000 due to the spike in propane costs this winter and government rebate levels. Yet, city officials expect being back up to predicted savings amounts this coming year and in years to come.


The propane autogas refueling infrastructure was also less expensive than any other alternative fuels’ refueling infrastructure on the market, Springfield’s McCarty says.
While installation took a bit longer than planned, given it was a new concept for the city, it was worth the wait as there was quick adoption, he notes. The fuel dispenser’s operation largely mirrors that of a regular fuel pump – an important piece of the puzzle in getting drivers to warm up to and embrace the alternative fuel.
Another thing that helped with the adoption of the alternative fuel is that propane autogas’ power, acceleration and cruising speed are similar to those of conventionally-fueled vehicles.
“With minimal upfront costs and substantial fuel savings, propane autogas fuel systems and dispensers are excellent solutions for municipalities and other light duty fleets looking to achieve both budget and sustainability goals in a relatively short amount of time,” says Curtis Donaldson, founder and managing director of CleanFUEL USA.
Already the leading alternative fuel in the United States, propane autogas costs an average of 30 to 40 percent less than gasoline and up to 50 percent less than diesel. Vehicles fueled by propane autogas, the lowest greenhouse gas emitting fuel, discharge 20 percent less nitrogen oxide, 60 percent less carbon monoxide and up to 25 percent less greenhouse gases.


Propane autogas vehicles have lower maintenance costs due in part to the fuel’s high octane rating and clean burning characteristics. The fuel burns so cleanly that it produces considerably less emissions and releases low amounts of combustion by-products, like unburned fuel, carbon (soot) and acids into the motor oil.
When motor oil stays cleaner longer, the intervals between oil changes can be extended. Additionally, the engines themselves often have a longer service life and reduced maintenance costs.


“Adopting propane autogas technology, with its positive environmental impacts, was simply good public policy given our city’s dedication to enhanced sustainability efforts,” Springfield’s finance director McCarty says.
The community has embraced the adoption, as have surrounding Illinois cities that have reached out for on-site tours and discussions to learn more about Springfield’s conversion to propane autogas for their own deployments.
As far as plans for more propane autogas conversions in Springfield, the city plans to purchase additional propane autogas systems for more vehicles by the end of this year.
Springfield’s original fleet conversion to propane autogas was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Energy Department’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an initiative to help displace millions of gallons of petroleum annually. See original article here.

UPS to Reduce Carbon Emissions By 20 Percent

UPS Inc. has set a goal to reduce the carbon intensity of its transportation operations by 20 percent in the next six years, after meeting an earlier goal three years early, the company said.
The company had set a goal in 2013 of reducing overall carbon emissions by 10 percent by 2016. After meeting that goal early, UPS now plans to reduce emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
"As a global logistics company dependent on vehicles and fuel to move nearly 17 million packages and documents a day, sustainability and growth are inextricably linked," said Scott Davis, UPS chairman and chief executive officer. "Our ability to grow our global shipping volumes and reduce total carbon emissions should be a signal to business that it is possible to do more for the environment while also serving more customers and adding more value."
UPS moved 3.9 percent more cargo last year compared to 2012 and at the same time reduced its emissions by 1.5 percent. The company operated 3,647 vehicles powered by alternative fuels, the company said.
In March, UPS announced it would invest $70 million to add 1,000 propane autogas trucks and the fueling infrastructure to support them. UPS also reduced its fuel consumption by 1.5 million gallons through route optimization initiatives.
UPS included the new goal in its "Committed to More" initiative that follows from its 2013 Sustainability Report. View more at the UPS Sustainability website here. See original article here.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Amphi school buses are going 'green'

ORO VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -It is the first day of classes for students in the Amphitheater School District, and something new for students this year - 'green' buses. 
According to officials with the district some 6,000 students ride to school on the bus and soon some will get to take a green one to campus, but they aren't talking new paint color. These newer buses will run on cleaner fuel than diesel. This week the district received two new buses that are fueled by propane. The new propane powered buses also run quieter than conventional diesel powered buses.

The new propane buses are not quite ready for service yet, so they will not be picking up and dropping off students. Officials with Amphi are saying these two new buses are just the beginning, the plan is to replace 15 diesel buses with propane ones. This changeover will save the district on fuel, propane costs fifty percent less than diesel, a change that will save the district some $75,000 in fuel cost for the year. Fuel savings will go back into the general fund, said Amphi officials, which means more money for the classroom. Aside from more money for the classroom, there is another benefit to propane, it is produced domestically.

"This means less dependency on foreign oil," said Marc Lappitt, Director of Transportation for the Amphi Public Schools. "All the propane that we consume is domestically produced in the U.S."

Students will find it difficult to see the difference between the diesel and the propane powered buses, but they certainly will feel it temperature wise.  The air conditioning works better in the propane buses.

District officials are expecting three more propane buses next week, with the ultimate goal of getting them all in service by August 18. See original article here.

Clean Cities Report: Costs Associated With Propane Vehicle Fueling Infrastructure

The Clean Cities report on Costs Associated with Propane Vehicle Fueling Infrastructure is published and now available on the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

The report is designed to help fleets understand the cost factors associated with propane vehicle fueling infrastructure. It provides an overview of the equipment and processes necessary to develop a propane fueling station and offers estimated cost ranges. 

Click here to take a look!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thomas Built Bus Report: Propane buses? What's all of the fuss about?

Propane buses? What's all of the fuss about?
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding propane buses, but what is all of the fuss about? Hasn't propane been around for years?
It's true that propane is not a new fuel source, but its popularity in the school bus industry is definitely on the rise. As district budgets are tightened and environmental standards become as much of a public mandate as they are governmental, fleets are switching to alternative-fueled school buses to improve their image and their transportation budgets. Alternative fuels, such as CNG and propane, are "green" fuels that are less impactful on the environment and are cheaper, more efficient fuel sources.
But why propane?
There are many advantages to propane-fueled school buses, starting with the fact that propane is simply the world's most popular clean-burning alternative fuel. Propane has been used for many things, from grilling steaks to heating homes, so most people are at least somewhat familiar with propane.
Thomas Built Buses Launches Second Annual Photo Contest
To celebrate riding the school bus back to school, Thomas Built Buses is once again hosting its annual Back to School Photo Contest. The photo contest invites parents to submit a photo of their child that best represents the Back to School season.
The top five winners will each receive a $2,000 donation for their child's school.
To enter, parents and students aged 18 or older can visit the Thomas Built Buses Facebook page, "Like" the page and enter a photo that best represents the fun, excitement and nostalgia of riding the bus back to school to either elementary, middle, or high school. All photos must depict a school bus.
Entries will be accepted from August 1, 2014 through September 15, 2014.
To learn more, visit www.Thomasbus.com/contest >
Thomas Built Buses extends warranty coverage
HIGH POINT, N.C. — Thomas Built Buses announced on Wednesday that it will extend its standard warranty coverage for the Saf-T-Liner C2 as well as its warranty coverage for standard body and chassis paint on all models.
The Saf-T-Liner C2 base warranty will provide three-year or 50,000-mile coverage for units built on or after Oct. 1, 2014. This is an extension over the previous one-year warranty. The warranty will cover the chassis and many other components, including electrical and manual controls, safety equipment, assemblies and more. Normal wear items are excluded.
Total Cost of Ownership Pro Tip
Train your team; time is running out
Train your team; time is running out
Downtime is costly. Technician training is an important aspect of TCO because the sooner your technicians can perform routine maintenance checks, the more quickly your buses can be back on the road. Solid training keeps your buses in optimal condition, and it saves you time and money on maintenance that can be performed quickly on-site.
Each year, Thomas Built Buses offers hands-on intensive technician training and factory-certified curriculum all in one week. Thomas Built Institute 2014 - West will take place from September 9 - 12 in Dallas, Texas. Registration is now open.
To register or learn more, visit the Thomas Built Institute page.