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Schwan's Gains Economic Benefits From Propane Autogas

January 2015, Work Truck - Feature

by Shelley Mika - Also by this author

Photo courtesy of Schwan's Home Service.
Photo courtesy of Schwan's Home Service.

Schwan's Home Service, Inc., has a long history of powering its fleet with liquefied propane gas (LPG), also known as propane autogas. While it must train PM providers to service these vehicles appropriately, propane autogas has continued to yield economic and environmental benefits.

The company's history with propane autogas goes back to the oil embargoes in the 1970s, when gasoline prices were high and there were concerns about a reliable supply. At that time, the company began converting its route trucks to run on propane autogas fuel. Today, more than 70 percent of the company's 4,400 delivery vehicles run on liquefied propane gas (LPG). With bulk storage tanks on the company's depot properties, LPG is trucked in each night to refill these units.

"The use of the alternative fuel prevented the emission of a cumulative 31,450 tons of greenhouse gases in 2013, which is the equivalent of removing nearly 7,000 vehicles from U.S. roadways," said Jeff Schueller, director of fleet maintenance for Schwan's Home Service. "Plus, the cost of propane autogas over time has been much lower than traditional fossil fuels. There usually are federal tax incentives available for using alternative fuels. We can also hedge fuel purchasing, locking in prices for months at a time and it burns cleaner than other fossil fuels."

The Schwan Food Company, which is the parent company for Schwan's Home Service, also has a wholly owned subsidiary called Bi-Phase Technologies. Bi-Phase designs and builds the fuel-injection systems that allow Schwan's trucks to run on propane autogas.

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