Blue Bird had hoped for 300 orders for propane buses but has already received 800, said Jay McDuffie, school bus business manager for Yancey Bus Sales & Service, which markets and services Blue Bird buses in Georgia and Alabama.
The Georgia Clean Cities Coalition and the Propane Education and Research Council organized the road show to demonstrate the benefits of propane power to vehicle fleet managers.
Those benefits include being environmentally friendly, economically efficient and both federal and state government incentives to switch from gasoline or diesel to propane, said Ed White, president of Alternative Fuel Solutions LLC.
Other reasons to switch fleets to propane are it is domestically produced and abundantly available, White said.
The U.S. is one of the worlds largest producers of propane, but production across the world is just exploding, White said. Approximately 90 percent of propane consumed in the U.S. is produced domestically, he said. Seven percent is produced in Canada, and the other 3 percent comes from U.S. companies that have oilrigs and natural gas facilities overseas.Propane is a byproduct of refining oil and processing natural gas.
The automotive market is a great potential market for our product, White said, noting that people typically connect the fuel to outdoor grills and home heat.
White acknowledged there is about a 10 percent reduction in mileage in propane-powered vehicles, but he said the fuel is cheaper, and there is a 50-cents-per-gallon federal tax credit for propane used in motor vehicles.