The Propane Autogas Future is Here Today

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Renewable Propane Comes to Maine.

First Vermont. Now Maine.

The first load of renewable propane in New England was delivered by Ray Energy to Judy Taranovich and her Proctor Gas team in Proctor, VT. It was a ground-breaking event. Why? Because it introduced American-made renewable propane into New England as a cleaner, lower-carbon alternative to diesel, gasoline, and most forms of electricity.

So anyone who likes the idea of an electric vehicle should love a vehicle that runs on propane.

In fact, anyone who is interested in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions should enthusiastically support propane (conventional and renewable) as a fuel choice because it’s much better for the environment.

And now a cleaner propane autogas future has arrived in Maine.

Uploaded Image: /uploads/blog-photos/Frist-Delivery-RP-ME-1200w.jpg The first load of a renewable propane blend was delivered into Maine by a Ray Energy transport (thank you, Mike White) to the Bonny Eagle S.A.D. #6 in Standish, ME, last week for a major propane autogas event at a new refueling station built by Crown Energy Solutions for school buses. The event was wonderfully hosted by Aimee Carlson of Stone Road Energy and Dennis Sullivan of PitStop Propane & Fuels.

Uploaded Image: /uploads/blog-photos/Leslie-Anderson-Quote_2a-350w.jpgRoughly half (about three dozen) of Bonny Eagle’s school buses run on propane and the school administration leadership was praised for their forward-thinking actions.

The banner event featured a number of guest speakers including Tucker Perkins (Propane Education & Research Council), Tim Gordon (Blue Bird), Derek Whaley (ROUSH), Clay Gleason (Bonny Eagle), Chris Hill (Meritum) and Leslie Andersen (Propane Gas Association of New England) who all spoke about the many economic, environmental, performance, and health benefits of propane autogas, especially versus diesel.   

How Can You Do Something Like This?

Say you own ABC Propane and you want to sell propane autogas to your local school district.

Much of the heavy lifting has already been done:

  1. Blue Bird is the largest producer of propane-powered school buses (over 18,000) in the industry.
  2. ROUSH designs, engineers, builds, and services propane engines and has a partnership with Ford on the 7.3L V8 propane engine. Their CleanTech fuel systems are in 80 percent of all propane school buses on the road.
  3. There are EPA grants up to $35,000 for each new school bus to incentivize the replacement of diesel school buses with cleaner propane school buses.
  4. You may be eligible for federal alternative fuel tax credits up to $.37 for each gallon of autogas purchased.           

Schools Want Cleaner-Fueled School Buses.

All schools want cleaner-fueled school buses. They also want buses that are safe and reliable with fewer NOx emissions and harmful particulate matter. And they want school buses that have lower fuel costs and less maintenance (which frees up money for better things than fuel purchases or engine repairs).

So it’s really about convincing them that propane is a cleaner, better choice than diesel or electricity (and not reliant on an overloaded grid) and that propane-powered school buses are extremely safe and reliable, with more power because they’re a liquid fuel right up to the point of injection.

To help with this, we’ve included an interesting infographic on “The Facts about Propane School Buses” at the bottom of the blog to help with talking points and answer many questions.

Ask Current Propane Autogas Customers Questions.

My suggestion would also be to have a prospective school administrator or transportation director call someone like Bonny Eagle’s Superintendent Clay Gleason in Buxton, ME, that already uses propane autogas and ask questions. The main thing is that they need to have a comfort level with this change, however positive. And to visually picture it working for them.

Trust me, in time their drivers will fight to drive the propane buses mostly because they start easier in cold weather, run quieter, and have more power.

What’s Happening with Propane Prices?

Mt. Belvieu, TX, propane prices have been trading near the lowest price level since December, 2020, which is probably why we’ve seen a lot of pre-buy activity lately. 2020 was a terrible year in many ways, but historically low propane prices came out of the demand destruction which was good for consumers.

Propane Price Chart

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Weekly Inventory Numbers

U.S. propane inventories showed a build of 2.25 mmbbls. for the week ending May 12, 2023, which was slightly above industry expectations. This brings national inventory levels to 63.65 mmbbls., about 43 percent ahead of last year and 30 percent above the 5-year average.

PADD 2 (Midwest/Conway) inventories had a build of .96 mmbbls. They currently stand at 14.61 mmbbls., nearly 48 percent higher than ‚Äčlast year.

PADD 3 (Gulf Coast/Belvieu) inventories had a build of 1.97 mmbbls. They currently stand at 41.47 mmbbls., roughly 47 percent ahead of last year.

The Skinny

First Vermont, now Maine. Will your state be next? Make sure to reach out to us when you’re ready and we'll deliver the renewable propane!

Here is a helpful infographic on “The Facts about Propane School Buses.”

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NOTE: The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, unless attributed to a third-party source, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ray Energy Corp, its affiliates, or its employees. The information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed by the author to be reliable. However, the author does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the information’s accuracy or completeness, nor does the author recommend that the attached information serve as the basis of any buying decision and it has been provided to you solely for informational purposes.
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