Fleet managers, maintenance technicians, and drivers across most of the United States are well aware of the seasonal headaches that come with using diesel fuel systems when the temperatures drop. Propane autogas can relieve the pain points associated with dealing with diesel in the winter, including increased costs, increased maintenance — and even cold cabs.
Cut costs in the cold
The costs of cold starts can add up quickly from employee overtime, increased electrical costs for block heaters, and expensive anti-gelling fluids. In fact, the Metropolitan School District of Warren Township was able to attribute $40,820 spent during the 2015-16 school year to cold startups alone. Now, the district has 11 propane autogas school buses, which don’t require block heaters to warm up engines before use or additional fluids to keep fuel liquid.
Keep your fleet on the street, not in the garage
Diesel vehicles have another hidden cost during the winter: downtime for repairs. Unlike earlier diesel vehicles, modern diesel engines require parts and filters to reduce pollutants. The excessive idling necessary to keep the vehicles operational during cold weather has proven to damage these parts, including injectors, EGR valves and coolers, turbochargers, and DPFs, all of which contribute to increased downtime and maintenance expenses. Additionally, longer idling consumes fuel faster.
Propane autogas engines provide superior performance, crank reliably regardless of the temperature, and are not adversely affected by extended idling periods. The cost of the alternative fuel is also consistently less expensive than both diesel and gasoline, so much that fleets report saving between 30 to 50 percent on fuel.
A warm driver is a happy driver
Because propane autogas vehicles start up immediately, heat is supplied to cabs much faster than in a diesel vehicle. This allows drivers to focus on the road and the day ahead, rather than regretting not bringing a heavier coat. In a school bus, too, both drivers and students have a more comfortable ride. This can contribute to increased driver retention and greater overall job satisfaction.
Propane autogas can provide a number of other benefits to fleets throughout the year, as well. More information about how fleets can take advantage of the alternative fuel can be found at propane.com/on-road-fleets.