Asplundh, an international provider of vegetation management services to utilities and municipalities, is one of the first in its industry to adopt propane autogas for some of the medium duty trucks in its fleet.
“We were searching for a cost-effective alternative fuel that provides an adequate refueling infrastructure and also meets our environmental initiatives,” said John Talbot, director of fleet services for Asplundh Tree Expert Co. “Propane autogas was our answer.”
Currently, Asplundh has two Ford F-650 trucks powered by ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel systems. The most complex unit is a bucket truck equipped with a 58-foot aerial lift that is operating in the Charlotte area, pruning trees away from power lines. An Asplundh-affiliated company also operates a chip dump truck in California where emissions regulations are stringent.
Propane autogas boasts a relatively widespread public refueling infrastructure, with thousands of stations located across the nation. “When you look at a map of all alternative fuel stations, there are lots of dots for autogas,” said Talbot. Asplundh currently refuels their vehicles at public stations, but may consider using mobile refueling services in the future.
Another advantage of propane autogas is the ability to mount the tanks under the cab, which maintains a clean frame rail behind the cab. For Asplundh, this means there is enough room for compartments to be mounted to hold the tools and other equipment needed for vegetation management services.
It is estimated that each of these trucks will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 117,000 pounds over its lifetime. Compared to conventional diesel counterparts, propane autogas vehicles also minimize smog-producing hydrocarbons, virtually eliminate particulate matter, and lessen noise levels. Propane autogas also lowers fuel and maintenance costs and decreases reliance on imported oil.
“Autogas is an affordable, abundant American fuel that allows companies like Asplundh to lower their operating costs while helping to preserve the environment in which they work,” said Joe Thompson, president of ROUSH CleanTech.
“Our customers appreciate the efforts we’re making to improve the environment in a cost effective way,” said Talbot. “It’s been a flawless operation so far.”
A North Carolina State University grant for Clean Fuel Advanced Technology helped fund one of Asplundh’s vehicles. ROUSH CleanTech will display propane autogas vehicles at the Southeast Alternative Fuels Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, today through Friday.