Southeast Propane Autogas Grant Program
Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has appropriated approximately $8.6 million in funding for the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy’s Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program, a unique, progressive project aimed at building the infrastructure for public and private vehicle operators to convert existing vehicles from conventional gasoline to clean propane autogas in 9 southeastern states and Washington, D.C. The following states are participating in this program: Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana as well as Washington, D.C. The grant is managed by Virginia Clean Cities at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
The Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program will create jobs through increased use of clean domestic propane fuel; this will mean job growth in the propane industry and the related industries of vehicle conversion centers, conversion kit equipment manufacturers, engineers, fuel supply and delivery organizations, refueling infrastructure construction, and dispensing equipment manufacturers. In addition to creating employment opportunities for Americans, more than 90% of propane comes from domestic sources and expanded vehicle use will reduce our reliance on imported energy sources.
Partners for this four-year grant program from the U.S. Department of Energy include the propane industry representatives Blossman Gas, Alliance AutoGas, American Alternative Fuels, and the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC), as well as nine Clean Cities Coalitions from the participating states. Additionally, marketing and communications for the program will be provided by MSM Communications. Partners are contributing a total cash value amount, also known as cost-share, of more than $11 million.
In addition to funding 1,169 fleet vehicle conversions, this program will implement more than 25 propane autogas fueling stations from Maryland to Florida to southwest Louisiana. The goal is to create at least one publicly accessible propane fueling location in every state involved in the project, either through building new fuel dispensing facilities or upgrading existing propane supply facilities. All 17 fleet partners are committed to participating in this project and converting vehicles to run on propane autogas. Each fleet will participate in data collection and reporting, driver and mechanic training, local marketing, as well as outreach and educational events. Clean Cities coalitions across the program area will partner with the project team and the Propane Education Research Council (PERC) to deliver a series of educational “Propane Road Shows” in every state. Project partners estimate that the initiative will help displace 3.9 million gallons of petroleum and 4,000 tons of air pollution annually.
This professional and far-reaching conversion, training, marketing, education and outreach program aims to increase awareness of propane as a clean transportation fuel, and increase the number of fleet vehicles that will routinely use a clean domestic alternative fuel.