According to data by the Propane Education & Research Council, 2017 saw more than 13,000 propane autogas fleet vehicles sold. The new vehicles annually consume 36.8 million gallons of clean propane autogas and will displace fuels with higher emissions like gasoline and diesel.
Although the numbers were still high, it was down slightly from 2016. The flat sales were due to industry signaling that propane autogas growth is coming soon.
“Propane autogas overcame significant challenges in 2017 — from the absence of federal incentives for alternative fuels from the federal government, to incredibly low gasoline and diesel prices throughout much of the year — and we received an overwhelming endorsement for our fuel in all markets. Propane autogas sales virtually held steady in a year where the conventional fuels held all of the advantages,” says Michael Taylor, director of autogas business development for PERC. “Looking ahead, our forecasts indicate there’s a lot to be optimistic about thanks to a variety of opportunities that will help increase propane autogas vehicle sales in 2018 and beyond.”
Opportunities to help sales in the near term include new OEM solutions for medium and heavy-duty truck applications. PERC funded its first propane hybrid for light-duty vehicles in 2017 and continues to research the technology. Additional aftermarket EPA and CARB certifications will be added later this year.
The new solutions are expected to increase sales and balance out OEM-dedicated propane autogas fleet vehicle sales with aftermarket conversion sales. Last year, 68 percent of all propane autogas fleet sales were aftermarket conversions, but is expected to be reduced to 55 percent by 2021 as more OEM dedicated vehicles become available.
More information about propane autogas vehicles is available at propane.com/on-road-fleets. Fleet managers or owners interested in learning more or staying current with industry news can also sign up for The Autogas Refuel quarterly email newsletter here.