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First Propane “Exceptional Energy” Award Winners to be Named at National Clean Cities Conference


May 7, 2001

Washington, DC, May 7, 2001- From school buses and National Park shuttles to city cabs and county sheriff's cars, more and more vehicles on the road today are being powered by clean-burning, safe, reliable and cost-effective propane - the "Exceptional Energy."  To recognize six vehicle fleets' outstanding commitment to both the environment and the economy, the Propane Education & Research Council (the Council) and members of the propane industry will honor the winners of its inaugural Propane "Exceptional Energy" Fleet Award. The recipients will be announced May 16th at 8:30am in the Level 100 Room Foyer of the Philadelphia Convention Center at the U.S. Department of Energy's Seventh National Clean Cities Conference.

The "Exceptional Energy" award is designed to recognize national leadership in the use of propane for vehicle fleets, and to promote awareness of propane's key benefits as the "exceptional" motor fuel of choice for the new century. "Municipalities and individual business owners are putting propane to use in cities around the nation," says Roy Willis, president of the Council. "More than 350,000 vehicles fueled by propane are on the nation's roads today, mostly in fleet use. It's good for the environment and it's smart for the taxpayer and consumer," adds Willis. "Everybody wins with propane."

Seventeen propane fleets have been nominated for the "Exceptional Energy" award, among them Yellow Checker Star Cab Company of Las Vegas, NV, the national trucking operations of Danone Waters of North America, Stamford, CT, Schwann's Home Delivery of Marshall, MN, DeKalb County in the State of Georgia, Northside Independent School District of San Antonio, TX, and Zion National Park, Springdale, UT.

Michael McClurkin, equipment manager for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, also a nominee for an "Exceptional Energy" award, currently manages the use of propane in several of the turnpike's maintenance vehicles and the operation of 13 propane-pumping units in its maintenance stations. "The move was originally in response to government mandates of the early 1990s," said McClurkin. "But once the changeover from gasoline got underway, the crews operating the vehicles found they actually prefer the propane-fueled cars and trucks." The Commission did exhaustive studies to determine which alternative fuel options would serve them best. "Propane had by far the most cost-efficient infrastructure,"  McClurkin said.

Ed Varney, chairman of the Propane Vehicle Council and national sales director for AmeriGas, the country's largest propane retailer, agrees that a developed infrastructure is the key to extended propane use. "Without a fleet of vehicles in place, it's tough to get suppliers to invest in pumping stations, and without pumping stations in place, it's tough to convince people to convert their vehicles. The key is to get everyone - fleet operators, propane suppliers and manufacturers - working together."

With soaring gasoline prices and urban air quality alerts making headlines around the country, this spirit of "working together" has started to gain momentum. Last month, QUANTUM Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMPCO Technologies of Cerritos, CA and the Propane Promotion Consortium (PROCON) of Boulder, CO announced they are developing and certifying propane-dedicated General Motors full-size Savanna and Express passenger and cargo vans. These vehicles will be marketed through select GM dealers nationwide in the near future.

The Council and the propane industry will be out in full force at Philadelphia's Clean Cities exhibition. "It's a key moment for energy issues in this country," says Willis. "And propane is going to make its case as the environmentally-sound and economically-effective fuel of the future. We call it "Exceptional Energy" - and that's exactly what it is."

The Propane Education & Research Council is dedicated to promoting the safe use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source through consumer education, safety and research projects. For more information on propane-fueled fleets, visit the Council's Web site at