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With gas prices rising and emissions regulations growing, both sustainability leaders and fleet managers are emphasizing the need to accelerate decarbonization today by utilizing renewable fuels, including propane. Energy leaders, especially those in the propane industry, are looking at the viability and production of renewable propane in the United States right now. Nearly identical to traditional propane in terms of its chemical structure and physical properties, there is only one big exception: it’s not made from fossil fuels. As a result, renewable propane solves a variety of environmental problems while offering the additional benefits of traditional propane.
The environmental advantages of renewable fuels are easy to find. Recycling cooking oil and meat fats into biodiesel and renewable propane helps cut the amount of waste deposited into landfills. An additional benefit is that it can be scaled up while remaining an ultra-low carbon intensity process. In vehicle engines, renewable propane has a carbon intensity of 19%, which is five times better than diesel and gasoline. Also, renewable propane’s carbon intensity score is 14, compared to 39 for an electric vehicle, 78 for fossil propane and 86 for gasoline.
Blossman Gas, a full-service company that provides everything from propane delivery to appliance sales, installation, and service, has been at the forefront of utilizing renewable propane since 2018. To date, 12 million gallons of renewable propane have brought into the transportation sector between Blossman Gas and Blue Star Gas, a West Coast partner to Blossman. Mobile County Public School Systems (MCPSS) in Alabama has over 200 autogas buses in its fleet currently. MCPSS transports around 26,000 students daily during the school year, and Blossman Gas provides the propane to fuel the buses. In 2018, Blossman Gas and MCPSS partnered together to begin utilizing renewable propane in the county school buses.
When looking at operational benefits, autogas has an edge over other alternative fueled vehicles, such as electric buses. Autogas buses don’t have the range restrictions of electricity, which could require buses to return to recharge in the middle of a route. This could be a key factor this upcoming school year, as routes may change from day to day depending on potential pandemic-related student schedules. See more benefits HERE.
“Our county school system and Blossman has had a great affiliation with each other for many years,” says Pat Mitchell, Director of Transportation at MCPSS. “We were excited for the opportunity to fuel our buses with renewable propane. Reducing our carbon footprint and providing a clean bus ride for our students is vital to what we want to accomplish in our school bus fleet.”
Stuart Weidie, CEO of Blossman Gas, is excited when he looks to the future of the propane industry. Weidie says “If we expect to grow gallons while ignoring public perception and policymakers’ goals, we risk losing the status as a viable energy source in the future. It is past time that we initiate a serious discussion on renewable propane if we intend to position our energy source as a modern fuel.”