Propane Industry Presents Awards for Top Propane-Powered Commercial Fleets


Award-winning fleet applications showcase propane’s economic, environmental and performance benefits in national parks, delivery services, and cities across the country

May 7, 2004

Washington, DC – The propane industry today announced the winners of the fourth annual PROPANE Exceptional Energy® Fleet Awards. Five fleets were recognized for exceptional propane-powered fleet applications: the City of San Antonio, TX; El Milagro, Chicago, IL; Island Explorer, Ellsworth, ME; VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio, TX; and Jacksonville Electric Authority, Jacksonville, FL.

“This year’s award winners demonstrate the business benefits of a propane-powered fleet,” said Roy Willis, PERC president. “They have embraced propane because it improves their bottom line, while providing reliable performance and environmental benefits – whether it’s a family-owned business in Chicago or one of America’s most visited National Parks in Maine.”

The PROPANE Exceptional Energy® Fleet Awards recognize the achievements of vehicle fleet leaders who use propane to fuel their vehicle fleets and promote public awareness of propane as a cost-effective, safe and clean-burning motor fuel. The awards were presented on May 3 at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Tenth National Clean Cities Conference & Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

2004 Exceptional Energy Fleet Award Winners:

  • The City of San Antonio, Texas was recognized as an outstanding example of how local governments can create an economical, self-sufficient, and environmentally conscious fleet program. The City operates four propane-refueling stations throughout San Antonio to keep its fleet of 363 propane-powered light- and medium-duty trucks running. This year, the City of San Antonio will add another 100 light-duty propane vehicles.
  • El Milagro, a small Mexican family-owned business located on the south side of Chicago, was recognized for its delivery fleet. The company runs 24 of its 32 delivery trucks on propane and operates its own propane refueling station.
  • Island Explorer, which operates at Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine, was recognized for powering all 17 of its Bluebird TranShuttle buses on propane. In 2002, the bus system carried more than 281,000 riders—a 107 percent increase in ridership since 1999, the first year the service was offered. Paul Murphy, operations manager for Downeast Transportation, which operates the shuttle system, accepted the award, saying, “On behalf of the partners that make up Island Explorer: Acadia National Park, MDL League of Towns, Friends of Acadia, Maine Department of Transportation, L. L. Bean, and Maine Clean Communities, I’d like to thank the propane industry. Propane really is exceptional energy.”
  • VIA Metropolitan Transit of San Antonio, Texas runs 98 percent of its transit bus fleet on propane and uses nearly 2.5 million gallons of propane annually. In a statement, John M. Milam, VIA’s president and CEO, said, “VIA is pleased to receive this award and we fully back the propane industry’s efforts to promote the use of alternative fuels to advance the economic, environmental, and energy security of the nation.  We chose this fuel to help reduce our fleet emissions and to demonstrate that propane could be a viable alternative fuel for transit systems.”
  • The Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) was recognized because it currently utilizes propane to power 28 light-duty fleet vehicles and five forklifts in its off-road equipment fleet. In 1982, JEA started using propane to power medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. “JEA has quietly become a national leader in the use of alternative fuels in its vehicle fleet,” said James T. Maedel, JEA Fleet Director. “This is part of our program to ‘do the right thing’ for our community and for diversified use of fuels in power production and transportation.”

More than 200,000 propane-powered vehicles are in use today in the United States, and more than 9 million are in use worldwide. Clean burning and efficient propane is also widely used in forklift and agriculture applications, as well as in other special-duty vehicles and engines.

Tests conducted by the EPA demonstrate that propane vehicles can produce 30 percent to 90 percent less carbon monoxide than gasoline engines and about 50 percent fewer toxics and other smog-producing emissions.  Propane is listed as an approved alternative fuel in the 1990 Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

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