HARRISONBURG, VA - Two South Carolina vehicle conversion centers, Greenville County and Light'N'Up, deployed 15 propane Autogas vehicles last month as part of a large-scale, Recovery Act-funded alternative-fuel vehicle project in the Southeast United States.  The historic Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program will convert nearly 1,200 vehicles from conventional gasoline to propane Autogas and implement over 20 refueling stations, addressing the critical need to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and harmful vehicle emissions.

Greenville County and Light'N'Up are two of nine conversion centers participating in the project. The conversion centers are trained and certified by Alliance AutoGas, a national network that provides fleets with a turnkey propane Autogas vehicle conversion and fueling solution. The program has created over a dozen skilled technician jobs to-date and is advancing alternative fuel vehicle awareness in the Southeast.

Greenville County, founded in 1870, is dedicated to providing its residents "quality of life that blends tradition and innovation." Alan Fairfield, the county's fleet director, says participating in the project was an obvious choice because the project goals align perfectly with Greenville's.

"This program is an innovative way to clean up Greenville's air and utilize a domestic fuel that's available now," says Fairfield. "We're pleased to be converting 100 of our county's vehicles to propane Autogas with the Program, and we're also excited to be a certified conversion center and help deploy this project - and continue alternative fuel conversions for the county after the project concludes." Greenville County converted nine vehicles in August and will convert all its remaining project vehicles.

Light'N'Up has been South and North Carolina's police force vehicle specialist for 21 years. Light'N'Up is a complete patrol car outfitter, providing services ranging from installing police lightbars and K9 cages to creating custom vehicle decals for patrol vehicles. The center has performed six vehicle conversions for Pickens County and will convert the county's 22 other participating vehicles.

"Light'N'Up has been the area's leading law enforcement outfitter for two decades, so it was a natural move to participate in this project and expand our police fleet services," says Light'N'Up President Stephen Shepherd. "By becoming certified to perform propane Autogas conversions, Light'N'Up is equipped to meet the growing demand for alternative-fueled police vehicles, allowing municipalities to save on fuel costs and cut emissions - not to mention that the officers have been extremely pleased with the performance of their Autogas vehicles."

Chelsea Jenkins, director of Program administrating entity Virginia Clean Cities, says: "The $8.6 million grant provided by the Department of Energy is allowing us to make great strides in tackling prominent issues the U.S. faces, such as the need for reduced emissions, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and economically viable alternative fuel and technology solutions. This project and the many partners who are making it possible are proving that we have the ability to change our fueling habits now."

The Program

The Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program is supported by funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program. The program is managed and administered by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and Virginia Clean Cities at James Madison University. The project includes partnerships throughout the Southeast - from Maryland to Florida to Louisiana - including public and private fleet organizations, non-profits, government stakeholders, and several alternative energy and manufacturing companies in the alternative fuel market. To learn more visit www.usepropaneautogas.com or contact Lauren Scott, lauren@msmcommunications.com, (512) 524-5456.