One in eight households in Iowa rely on clean-burning propane for home heating. Meanwhile, high-efficiency propane-powered crop drying represents a critical phase in the harvesting process within our state’s 30 million acres of farmland.
But did you know that propane also plays an important role in powering motor vehicles with its clean, high-efficiency energy?
Propane autogas is the term used to describe propane when it is used as a fuel for vehicles. Propane autogas is the world’s most popular alternative fuel, which is defined as any product that bypasses the two big traditional petroleum fuels: gasoline and diesel
According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, 60% of alternative-fuel vehicles nationwide now run on propane, from school buses to vans and fleet trucks to forklifts, lawnmowers and farm tractors. It is the third most popular vehicle fuel, next to gasoline and diesel.
Here are three key areas where propane-fueled vehicles have an edge over those that rely on diesel or gasoline.
Fuel: You can generally count on an average savings of 30 to 40 % per mile driven with propane autogas, considering both the cost of the fuel itself and expected fuel economy. Historically, propane has been 30% less than gasoline, and the savings are even greater now when compared to diesel, especially in the wake of the alarming price increases we’ve seen lately.
Fluids: New, lower emissions diesel technology presents extra costs because diesel emissions fluid needs to be purchased, stored and changed. Plus, in cold temperatures, diesel vehicles need anti-gel fluids to prevent fuel filters and fuel lines from clogging. If your fleet runs on propane autogas, however, you will benefit from reliable performance in any type of weather without the need and extra expense of additional fluids.
Filters: To meet emissions requirements, today’s diesel technology requires diesel particulate filters that must be cleaned. Excessive idling accelerates cleaning intervals. These extra maintenance expenses just add more to the total cost of ownership.
For fleet owners who want the cost benefits of propane autogas but need the flexibility of a gasoline backup or who aren’t ready to purchase new vehicles, EPA-certified bi-fuel conversion kits can be installed on existing vehicles.
You can count on propane refueling technology to deliver as dependably as the vehicles themselves. Refueling with propane autogas is quick, quiet and safe. It’s the same experience as refueling with diesel or gasoline, making the transition to propane autogas easy for fleets.
Propane autogas fleet operators can also save money by taking advantage of the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit, which was recently passed by the U.S. Congress as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. You may qualify to claim a credit for every gasoline gallon equivalent of propane autogas purchased.
The credit is available through December 31, 2024 and extends back to January 1, 2022. The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) estimates that this credit will be a $200 million boon to the propane industry annually.
Besides federal tax credits, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) also offers state tax incentives to business projects for the production of biomass or alternative fuels. You can find out more about these alternative fuel production tax credits at the agency’s High Quality Jobs Program website.
Additionally, the IEDA provides grants for projects that support the implementation of the Iowa Energy Plan, including the purchase of Alternative Fuel Vehicles. You can learn more about qualifying for grants by going to the Iowa Energy Center Grant Program website.
Please contact your local Iowa propane provider to find out about autogas services or to find an autogas specialist in your area. Read more about propane autogas.