Recognition for Fleet Vehicles Powered by Alternative Fuels

First Propane “Exceptional Energy” award winners announced at National Clean Cities Conference

May 18, 2001

Washington, D.C., May 18, 2001 — Six vehicle fleets received the inaugural Propane “Exceptional Energy” Fleet Award this week (May 16) from the Propane Education & Research Council (the Council) and members of the propane industry at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Seventh National Clean Cities Conference. The award winners were recognized for their outstanding commitment to clean burning, efficient, safe, and affordable propane as the alternative fuel choice for their vehicle fleets. The honored vehicle fleets are Schwan’s Home Delivery of Marshall, Minnesota, Danone Waters of North America of Pasadena, California, Northside Independent School District of San Antonio, Texas, the State of Florida’s Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Transportation and Yellow Checker Star Cab Company of Las Vegas, Nevada.

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. “Our award winners are the forward thinking agencies and businesses who have made the choice to improve their economics and the environment by putting propane to use in cities around the nation,” says Roy Willis, president of the Council. “Each one is a contributor to their community and a positive example to the nation. The Council is proud to recognize them as the first recipients of the Exceptional Energy award.” Willis confirms that there are more than 350,000 vehicles fueled by propane on the nation’s roads today. The majority of these vehicles are for fleet use. Ed Varney, chairman of the Propane Vehicle Council and National Accounts Director for AmeriGas of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania joined Willis in the award presentations.

Don Lewis, Fleet Manager at the Texas Department of Transportation says winning the Exceptional Energy award is an achievement shared by many, “This culminates 10 years of effort and is a real tribute to the employees of TXDOT. Their heartfelt efforts are what makes our propane program work and succeed.” TXDOT currently has 6,000 alternative fuel vehicles on the road, 5,000 of which are propane. Alan Macht of Schwan’s Sales Enterprises says the choice to go with propane has always made sense to Schwan’s. “Our over 20 year commitment to propane continues to be grounded in the simple fact that propane is the safest, most cost-effective and environmentally smart choice in motor fuels.” Schwan’s Home Delivery operates the largest propane vehicle fleet in the nation and estimates that its 7000 propane vehicle fleet uses 45 million gallons of propane annually and travels more than 190 million miles per year. “After more than 2 billion miles logged on propane we know we’re making a very positive contribution both to clean air standards and our own bottom line,” says Macht.

Randy Zanatta of the Northside Independent School District confirms that propane efficiency is the key, but emphasizes that clean air efforts have become an equally important factor. “In 1981, when we first went with propane, it was because we were looking for an affordable and available fuel. Propane was the obvious choice,” says Zanatta. “ Today price is still a big factor, but availability has morphed into the positive environmental impact propane has.” Northside reports that each of its propane-fueled vehicles emits approximately 65% fewer hydrocarbons into the atmosphere than gasoline-powered vehicles while saving the District $1,335 per vehicle annually.

The message of affordability and reliability coupled with environmental safety awareness is the formula for success of each Exceptional Energy award winner. “Our clean burning trucks are delivering a refreshing and clean product with an incredibly clean fuel sending a terrific message to our customers,” says Brent Wahl, Southern California Fleet Manager for Danone Waters of North America. With 75% of its delivery truck fleet powered by propane, Wahl confirms Danone’s commitment to propane is here to stay, “Every new delivery vehicle we purchase will be a dedicated propane power vehicle.” Zanatta aptly sums up the believes of each Exceptional Energy award winners today, “The past experience we have had with propane motor fuel has shown us that it is clearly the path to be followed in the future.”

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