Two public safety departments recently faced a similar challenge: how to cut costs on fuel without limiting officers’ capability to protect and serve. Each found its answer in propane autogas, which met performance needs, reduced fuel costs, and easily incorporated the new fuel into their existing facilities.
Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, located in North Carolina, has been using propane autogas bi-fuel vehicles since 2010. Kingsport Police Department began using bi-fuel cruisers in 2011 and has since converted nearly ten percent of the city’s total equipment to run on propane.
For Iredell County, benefits after converting to bi-fuel cruisers included:
- Propane autogas handled the 600 square-mile county’s hilly terrain with the same power and torque as the county’s gasoline vehicles.
- With dollars saved through reduced fuel costs, the county purchased three additional K-9 units.
- When gasoline pipelines were disrupted twice and caused shortages around North Carolina in the fall of 2016, deputies could stay active across the county by refueling with propane autogas.
Benefits of propane autogas for the Kingsport Police Department included:
- Officers are happy. Many request operating propane autogas vehicles instead of gasoline because acceleration is smoother and vehicles idle better.
- The department experienced fuel savings operating propane autogas at a time of low gas prices. A gallon of propane cost the city about $0.75 per gallon after a 2016 federal alternative fuels rebate, compared to $1.28 per gallon of gasoline, Hightower said.
- Some of its costs for infrastructure and equipment upgrades were offset by state and regional grants.
- The city acquired the capability to do in-house propane autogas conversions, further reducing costs and increasing convenience for future conversions.