Frequently Asked Questions About Propane Autogas Vehicles
No, autogas-powered vehicles use the same propane that is used in thousands of applications all across America – from home heating to mosquito control.
On the ROUSH and GM-dedicated vehicles there is no loss in horsepower or torque. These vehicles are engineered to perform the same as gasoline-powered vehicles. Users of aftermarket bi-fuel systems also report that their performance is equal to gasoline models.
As with most technologies, there have been significant improvements in autogas-powered vehicles. The biggest difference is that today’s dedicated systems utilize the direct fuel injection of liquid propane instead of the old carburetor-based systems, eliminating the problems the older-generation of vehicles faced.
Actually, more than 14 million vehicles worldwide run on propane autogas. Only recently have Americans started to look seriously at alternative fuels, so there are relatively fewer autogas-powered vehicles here. Even so, there are hundreds of thousands of vehicles here already running on it, including delivery fleets, school buses, taxi cabs and police vehicles.
Your leasing company can work with your Ford or GM fleet sales manager to order dedicated propane vehicles direct from ROUSH or GM.
As with traditional fuel vehicles, price varies by model and equipment. The GM 6.0L and the ROUSH pickups and vans cost about $10,000 to convert. Bi-fuel aftermarket systems are in the range of $5,000 to $6,500 to install. Blue Bird buses cost about $13,000 more than the base diesel model.
Keep in mind that autogas will more than pay for itself over the expected life of the vehicle through lower fuel costs and a much lower cost of ownership than traditional fuel vehicles.
ROUSH and GM have support networks through their dealer networks that respond to service issues on autogas vehicles the same as they might for traditional fuel vehicles. Aftermarket systems each have different methods of support, but each company has effective strategies in place to meet the needs of their autogas users.
Each of FerrellAutogas’ technology partners offers training for fleet mechanics to properly maintain and troubleshoot the systems. Your FerrellAutogas Consultant can help coordinate the appropriate training with our technology partners.
Depending on the automotive solution you select, most of our technology partners do offer this as an option to qualified accounts.
Yes. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 58 establishes the rules on this and provided that they are properly converted there are no concerns with garaging autogas-powered vehicles.
Typically the dedicated ROUSH, GM, Blue Bird and Collins buses all arrive at your facility fully converted. Conversion of legacy vehicles using aftermarket kits is also usually done locally.
The ROUSH, GM, Blue Bird and Collins buses all carry the OEM warranty, as well as coverage for the autogas systems. The aftermarket bi-fuel systems each have their own warranty covering their system.
Generally, the range of an autogas-powered vehicle is about 90% of what you’d see from a similar gasoline model, depending upon on the tank configuration and size. This compares favorably with other alternative fuel choices like CNG, which can reduce range by as much as 70 percent. Estimated range on various models is as follows:
- ROUSH F-150, F-250, F-350: In bed – extended range tank: ~450 miles
- Under bed tank: ~225 miles
- ROUSH E-150, E-250, E-350: under bed tank: ~300 miles
- ROUSH E-450: under bed: to be determined
- GM 6.0L:
- In bed – extended range tank: ~450 miles o Under bed tank: ~225 miles
- Blue Bird Vision: ~300 miles
- Collins Class A bus: ~300 miles
- Bi-fuel aftermarket: ~500 miles (combined gasoline and propane)
Even though the autogas tanks are 20 times stronger than gasoline tanks the added weight is negligible. On the ROUSH vans for example only five additional pounds are added to the weight of the vehicle.
There are different tank locations based on the model: Pickups can either have a tank in the bed or under the bed in place of the spare tire. The tanks on the dedicated vans are in the same place as the OEM gasoline tanks. On the buses, the tanks are under the vehicles in the frame rails. On sedans the tanks are usually in the trunk.
Propane systems are considered low-pressure systems. Propane naturally liquefies at 170 psi and the operating pressure of an autogas fuel system is ~200 psi. By contrast, CNG systems have an operating pressure of ~2,500 to 3,000 psi.
The majority of offerings are in vehicle weight class 1-5 and target fleet vehicles such as pickup trucks, vans, shuttle buses, school buses, taxis, delivery vehicles and police vehicles. Ford/ROUSH and GM have plans to extend their offerings, but no announcements have been made yet about what models and engine sizes they will offer. See a list of what’s available for your fleet.
Much the same as with traditional fuel vehicles, fuel efficiency in autogas-powered vehicles varies from model to model, and application to application. As a general statement, dedicated liquid propane injection (LPI) vehicles have about 90% of the fuel efficiency of gasoline models due to the fact that propane has 10% less BTUs than a gallon of gasoline. This compares favorably to other alternative fuels like CNG, which can lower fuel efficiency by almost 70%.
And keep in mind that because the cost of fuel and the operating cost per mile are lower than with gasoline, fleets can often realize significant savings by transitioning to autogas.