An electrify-everything movement is sweeping across the United States, suggesting large-scale electrification in a variety of applications. Driven by a growing concern for global warming, the movement is encouraging people to get as close to zero carbon emissions as possible, as fast as possible, to avoid climate change. But electricity as an energy source with zero carbon emissions is misleading. Luckily, there is an energy source that can provide a solution to material handling professionals seeking a better emissions profile for their equipment — it’s just not electric.

Businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint and cut costs can do so with propane. When taking into account the site-to-source emissions required for bringing electric forklifts to market, you come to realize that propane is actually a better low-emissions option than electric. Site-to-source emissions include those produced in the manufacturing and transportation of batteries for electric forklifts. Not to mention, the electricity needed for recharging batteries is mostly generated by coal-fired plants that release even more harmful emissions into the air and toxins into the water supply.

Plus, propane saves more on the energy itself and at acquisition. In fact, the capital cost of a propane forklift is almost 30 percent lower than the purchase price of an electric-powered forklift. Beyond that, the ongoing cycle of recharging and purchasing new batteries gets expensive fast. The disposal process can be costly, too. Because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers batteries a hazardous material, there are specific handling and disposal regulations for facility managers to keep in mind when disposing of dead batteries. And in many cases, proper disposal or reconditioning of the battery can be a costly proposition. Businesses operating with propane, on the other hand, can count on a lower purchase price, plus energy that costs less. They may also be able to secure a contract with their local propane supplier for further savings.

To learn more about the benefits of operating with propane-powered forklifts, visit