A Virginia organization that helps vehicle fleets switch to clean-burning propane is launching a new scheme to ensure the safe maintenance and repairs of propane autogas vehicles.
As more American fleets hit the road with alternative fuel, US automotive workers need the technical expertise to safely and effectively maintain them, marketwatch.com reports. So Virginia Clean Cities has set up training classes for frontline workers to equip them with the necessary skills.
“Safety training is essential for technicians, mechanics and other fleet personnel who work with propane autogas vehicles, just as it is with traditional gasoline or diesel vehicles,” says Peter Denbigh, projects director at Virginia Clean Cities. “Autogas vehicles are no more complicated to operate than gasoline vehicles, but the technology is different. Especially when a fleet has an in-house service center, their staff should learn how to properly maintain the vehicles from autogas experts.”
Millions of vehicles worldwide run on propane, which is much cheaper than conventional vehicle fuels, costing about $1 a gallon less than gasoline. It is also much cleaner-burning. Propane-powered vehicles produce less carbon emissions and nasty greenhouse gases than gasoline or diesel, so it’s more environmentally friendly. And propane is produced in abundance domestically here in the US thanks to a boom in shale gas and oil production – reducing America’s reliance on foreign oil and enhancing national energy security. Finally, because propane is cleaner-burning in engines, propane-powered vehicles require less maintenance, saving motorists even more money. This helps make vehicle conversions and fueling infrastructure cost-effective for fleets.
Virginia Clean Cities helps fleets convert to propane through the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program. The program is a public and private partnership running in 10 Southeast states and Washington, DC. It will put nearly 1200 clean autogas vehicles on the road and implement more than 30 autogas fueling stations over its four-year span.
The two-day safety training sessions are being hosted by American Alternative Fuel, a co-founding member of Alliance AutoGas, which provides autogas fueling infrastructure and conversion equipment for fleets throughout the county. The Alliance AutoGas complete program includes ongoing technical training and support for fleets which convert to propane. It aims to complete at least 1195 propane vehicle conversions by spring 2012.