Thousands saved with propane conversion

By Wayne Allen

Access Scioto County (ASC) has saved an estimated $50,000 on fuel costs by converting their fleet of buses to run on propane. A public hearing was held on Tuesday, required for ACS to apply for public funding.

“Propane continuities to save us money,” said Larry Mullins, ASC coordinator. He said the conversion has saved the agency roughly roughly $50,000 since October of 2012.

“This year the savings have been a little bit less because, gas prices have come down. When you compare it using gasoline and diesel,” Mullins said. “Still yet it (propane) continues to save us money.”

Mullins said there are a number of advantages to Propane Autofuel. He said it burns 70 percent cleaner than gasoline and has a higher octane rating of 110. Currently ASC is paying a $1.47 a gallon, with taxes.

“Because it burns so much cleaner, vehicular maintenance costs are also cheaper, Mullins said. “All of our propane is produced here in our local area so it reduces our dependence on foreign oil.”

He said one of the benefits of converting the buses is flexibility.

“The nice thing about the conversion is that it will run on propane or gas. Let’s say you are out in the county, picking someone up. If the propane runs out, it automatically switches over to gas and never misses a beat and the driver loses no power,” Mullins said.

He said a full tank of propane will typically run about 200 miles.

Mullins said one of the other advantages of running propane is that it’s domestically made and comes from South Shore, Kentucky.

He said the agencies fleet has been converted with the exceptions of two new buses received this year.

“They (new buses) just hit their five thousand mile marker and that’s usually when we convert them,” Mullins said. “By the end of next month we’ll be back to being completely propane again.”

He said when a bus is ready to retire the conversion equipment could be transferred to the new bus and be used for the same purpose.

Mullins said the agency was eligible for an alternative fuel tax rebate and received roughly $17,000 as a result.

In August, ASC started a Wheelersburg Dial-A-Ride service. The service is aimed to provide better access to public transportation in Wheelersburg. The new service would be operated like a taxi service from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will close from 11:30 a.m. to noon each say for lunch. The cost of the new service will be one dollar for a one way trip, per person that’s available on a first come, first serve basis. Those approved for ASC’s Elderly and Disabled Reduce Fare will ride for half price. Each ride would originate and terminate in the Wheelersburg area and prospective passengers would call a special number when they want a trip.

He said the demand for the service started out low, but is catching on.

When the service opens on Wednesday, it will operate with a temporary phone number 740-876-4781.

For more information about Access Scioto County and the services they offer visit them on Facebook.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT