Fleet Maintenance - 54

		┬╗Propane autogas
vehicles produce fewer
harmful emissions than
their traditionallyfueled counterparts.
Photo courtesy of ROUSH CleanTech

The propanepowered
Fleets looking to reduce emissions,
and possibly vehicle maintenance,
may consider switching from
diesel to propane autogas.

There are now tens of thousands of propane
autogas-powered commercial vehicles on the
roads in North America, completing tasks
such as delivering baked goods or bottled
water, dropping off packages, and transporting students to school. While it may not be
obvious, those propane autogas vehicles are
producing fewer harmful emissions than their
traditionally-fueled counterparts. And, new
propane autogas engine and fuel technologies
are lowering emissions even further.

Considerations when
switching from diesel
Even though today's diesel engines are cleaner
than those of years past, there are still reasons
to consider alternatively-fueled vehicles such
as propane autogas. Diesel engines are cleaner largely through complexity, like expensive

By Todd Mouw

Todd Mouw is president of ROUSH CleanTech, an
industry leader of advanced clean transportation
technology. Mouw has also served as president of the
NTEA Green Truck Association. He can be reached at

54 Fleet Maintenance | October 2020

equipment and high-maintena nce
Without multiple ancillar y devices, diesel
engines would not be able
to meet Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)
emissions standards.
Propane's low-carbon
chemical properties allow it to power an
engine while reducing the emissions released
into the atmosphere. Engines fueled by
propane autogas require less oil by volume
than their diesel counterparts, and do not
need additional emission fluids or extra valve
adjustments. Additionally, propane vehicles
follow the same regular maintenance as
conventionally-fueled models. This includes
recommended oil change intervals and basic
maintenance like changing and inspecting
spark plugs, air filters, batteries, etc.
Since preventive maintenance recommendations are similar to that of diesel engines and
there are fewer aftertreatment considerations,
this could mean reduced overall maintenance
for a fleet using propane autogas vehicles.

Environmental and
health factors

Propane is a clean-burning, low-carbon
fuel with three parts carbon and eight parts
hydrogen. It is non-toxic and poses no harm
to groundwater or soil. When compared to
diesel and gasoline vehicles, vehicles fueled
by propane autogas emit fewer greenhouse
gases and total hydrocarbon emissions, and
virtually eliminate particulate matter.
Propane autogas is also naturally lower
in nitrogen oxides (NOx), emissions which
are federally regulated due to their negative
impact on human health and the environment. They can trigger health problems such
as asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory
issues, and environmental problems such
as acid rain and deteriorated water quality. According to a University of California
Riverside study, diesel-fueled medium and
heavy duty vehicles are the number one
source of NOx emissions in almost every
single metropolitan region in the U.S.
Propane autogas trucks reduce drivers' exposure to the harmful particulate matter in diesel
exhaust, which is known to aggravate asthma
and is identified as a carcinogen by the World
Health Organization. Engine noise is also
reduced in propane autogas vehicles, allowing drivers to focus more on the road ahead.
To encourage manufacturers to be even more
environmentally friendly, the California Air
Resources Board (CARB) established optional

low-NOx standards below the EPA's 0.2 grams
per brake horsepower hour (g/bhp-hr) standard.
Manufacturers may choose to certify engines
to the California Optional Low NOx Standards
of 0.10, 0.05, or 0.02 g/bhp-hr. In 2018, ROUSH
CleanTech received CARB certification for its
0.02g ultra-low NOx 6.8L V10 3V propane
engines for Class 4 through 7 vehicles. When
fueled by traditional propane autogas, this
engine is 90 percent cleaner than national
emissions standards.

Renewable propane

In addition to traditional propane, propane
autogas engines can be powered by renewable propane, a non-fossil fuel produced from
100 percent renewable raw materials such
as waste, residue, and sustainably produced
vegetable oils. There is growing interest
in renewable propane due to its near-zero
emission levels, reduced greenhouse gases,
and ability to help meet growing demand for
cleaner products. It can be used as a replacement fuel because, chemically, it is nearly
identical to conventional propane. Since it
is produced from renewable, raw materials,
renewable propane has a lower carbon intensity than conventional propane and is "cleaner"
than other energy sources.
The Propane Education & Research Council
(PERC), a nonprofit organization that provides
propane safety and training programs, is
committed to testing renewable propane,
including blends with conventional propane
and standard development. The organization
has been informing OEMs of potential engine
use and creating awareness of the fuel for
producer, seller, transporter, and end user.
"As the next generation of sustainability,
renewable propane is an energy source that
will play a critical role in caring for the environment," says Steve Whaley, director of autogas business development at PERC. "Renewable
propane has all the benefits of conventional
propane autogas - it's clean, affordable, and
provides fleets with the same performance and
reliability they've come to expect - but at the
point of combustion, it's carbon neutral."
Many companies around the world are
developing renewable propane production
technology, with some in commercial volume
as a byproduct of renewable diesel plants. As
demand grows in places like California, the
producers of renewable propane will begin to
develop the infrastructure to distribute this
fuel efficiently.
Renewable propane is already available, and
many experts predict the entire worldwide
demand can be met with renewable propane
by 2040. Federal alternative fuel tax credits
are available for fleets using propane or renewable propane, although propane already has
the lowest total operating costs of any fuel,
conventional or alternative.
The latest low NOx propane engine technology, coupled with renewable propane, may be a
cost-effective method to help reduce emissions
for a fleet.


Fleet Maintenance

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance

Uptime: How Fleets Can Connect with Tech Schools
Editor's Note: The Aftertreatment Blues
Keys to Maximizing Trailer ROI
Best Practices for Maintaining Hydraulic Braking Systems
Solving the Parts Puzzle
Contending with Accelerated BEV Tire Wear
Cold Weather HVAC Considerations
Management: CMMS Marketplace
Economic Outlook: Signs of Economic Recovery
Diagnostics: Choosing the Right Diagnostic Tool for Roadside Triage
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Guest Editorial: The Propane-Powered Alternative
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime: How Fleets Can Connect with Tech Schools
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - Editor's Note: The Aftertreatment Blues
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - Keys to Maximizing Trailer ROI
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - 16
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - 18
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - Best Practices for Maintaining Hydraulic Braking Systems
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - 22
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - 24
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - Solving the Parts Puzzle
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - 28
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - 30
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - Contending with Accelerated BEV Tire Wear
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - Cold Weather HVAC Considerations
Fleet Maintenance - 35
Fleet Maintenance - Management: CMMS Marketplace
Fleet Maintenance - 37
Fleet Maintenance - 38
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - Economic Outlook: Signs of Economic Recovery
Fleet Maintenance - 41
Fleet Maintenance - Diagnostics: Choosing the Right Diagnostic Tool for Roadside Triage
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - 44
Fleet Maintenance - 45
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Parts & Components
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - 48
Fleet Maintenance - 49
Fleet Maintenance - 50
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - 53
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial: The Propane-Powered Alternative
Fleet Maintenance - 55
Fleet Maintenance - 56
Fleet Maintenance - A1
Fleet Maintenance - A2
Fleet Maintenance - A3
Fleet Maintenance - A4