'It's going to happen'

Zoe Greszler • Apr 18, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Propane is not just for grilling burgers any more. It’s estimated about 26 million vehicles run now on propane, an options that proponents say is more eco-friendly and now wallet-friendly as a new Ohio rebate pays people to buy propane-fueled vehicles.

According to Ohio Propane Gas Association (OPGA), Ohio already has roughly 1,400 vehicles using propane, and the state has rebates in place to reward more drivers who make the switch. 

“Anybody that's involved in energy knows we need alternative methods — we need solar (etc.),” said Joe Ross, public educator for OPGA. “…It's going to happen. It’s been happening elsewhere in the world. But what's really cool about propane is that it is the cleanest fossil fuel. That's why they’ve used it in houses for generations, because you can actually breathe it in.”

Another plus comes with the money saved on maintenance charges, he added.

“Maintenance lasts longer — you don’t need to get oil changes as often with propane,” Ross said. “It's a little strange for propane people that it’s not more prevalent in the U.S. We've been all over the world.”

Liquefied petroleum gas-fueled engines, known as Autogas, produce less harmful greenhouse gas emissions, with 70 percent fewer smog-producing hydrocarbons, according to proponents. Autogas engines also outperform traditional gasoline- and diesel-fueled engines.

Ohio has a number of early adopters of Autogas technology. Franklin County has a fleet of Autogas school buses. Columbus has a fleet of Autogas cabs as well as other municipalities.

There is a growing interest in Ohio to pursue this technology for its fuel efficiency, lower operating expenses and positive impact environment.

“We are ahead of the game compared to some of the surrounding states,” said OPGA President Brian Buschur. “But we still have a long way to go. Not many people know about propane’s advantages in Ohio or the U.S.”

Not only is Autogas green and cost-effective but it’s abundant. The domestic supply of propane reduces U.S. reliance on imported fuels, increases energy security, and creates American jobs.

To assist Ohio companies and municipalities with the adoption of Autogas, the OPGA has developed a public education campaign that includes a rebate program.

“Our association is offering $1,000 rebates to Ohio propane customers that are looking to upgrade to vehicles and lawn mowers with engines that run on propane,” said Eric Sears, chairman of the OPGA Autogas Committee.

The propane vehicle rebate application can be filled out online. It will:

• Offer on-road incentives toward the purchase of OEM Autogas vehicles and mowers.

• Offer consumers up to $5,000 per entity, $1,000 each for OEM Autogas vehicles or OEM Propane Mowers, maximum quantity of five.

• Offer up to a $1,000 rebate for the purchase of a new propane mower.

• Be administered on a first come, first serve basis.

• Be available to interested groups, municipalities and associations.

To learn more, visit www.OhioAutoGas.com

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