A Regional Reduction in Fuel Spending and Emissions
Serving Kitsap County just outside of Seattle, Washington, Kitsap Transit is a public transit agency responsible for transporting over 3.5 million passengers annually. That includes ACCESS, its paratransit service for seniors and riders with disabilities, which currently consists of 69 vehicles.
Whatcom Transportation Authority serves nearby Whatcom County, located in the northwestern corner of Washington state. In addition to providing fixed route and zone service, the Whatcom Transportation Authority utilizes a fleet of 47 paratransit buses to provide service for passengers with disabilities.
Both Kitsap Transit and Whatcom Transportation Authority began looking for paratransit vehicles with cleaner emissions that would allow them to lower their overall fuel costs. Not only have both agencies seen a reduction in fuel spending — with propane autogas averaging 40% less than gasoline and 50% less than diesel, per gallon — but they have also benefited from reduced maintenance costs, including fewer quarts of oil required, fewer oil changes, and less costly filter packages.
Since 2015, 49 paratransit propane shuttles have been added to the Kitsap Transit ACCESS fleet. Meanwhile, 22 propane buses have been purchased by the Whatcom Transportation Authority, beginning in 2019. For both agencies, reducing its carbon footprint was a major driver in the decision to replace its paratransit vehicles. When compared with gasoline or diesel vehicles, fleet vehicles running on propane autogas emit fewer greenhouse gases and smog-producing hydrocarbons and virtually eliminate particulate emissions.
Compared with other fuels, propane offers paratransit fleets the lowest total cost of ownership. Propane autogas is approximately 40% less expensive than gasoline and about 50% less costly than diesel per gallon. In addition, propane vehicles are known to be easy to maintain and reliable to operate. With fewer quarts of oil required, fewer oil changes, and less expensive filter packages, both the Whatcom Transportation Authority and the Kitsap Transit ACCESS fleets found that their overall maintenance costs had notably declined.
Installing propane fueling infrastructure costs less than any other transportation energy source — conventional or alternative. Propane supplier Ferrellgas helped both Kitsap Transit and Whatcom Transportation Authority choose the right fueling option based on the fleet size, routes, budget, and facility space. Today, Kitsap Transit has a 2,000-gallon dispenser at both its North and Charleston facilities, as well as one 1,000-gallon leased dispenser at its South facility, while Whatcom Transportation Authority has three 1,000-gallon dispensers on its property to accommodate its propane fleet.
Propane has reduced our maintenance costs and wear and tear on the engine and components. We don’t need to do as much serving for fluids, coolants, and filters. Dennis Griffey, Maintenance Director, Kitsap Transit