Propane fueling station opens

John Christensen
Phelps Sungas new public autogas fueling station opened June 10 in Geneva.

Phelps Sungas hosted the grand opening of the first public propane autogas fueling station in Geneva June 10. Launched in conjunction with the Alliance AutoGas nationwide clean vehicle fueling and conversion network, the station will provide motorists with access to clean-burning, affordable propane autogas at 224 Cross Road in Geneva.

Propane autogas (liquefied petroleum gas used as a vehicle fuel) is the world’s most widely used alternative fuel. This domestically produced resource is clean-burning and helps public and private vehicle fleets save money.

Currently, autogas is $2.33 per gallon compared to $3.90 per gallon for gasoline or $4.20 for diesel. Phelps Sungas will use the Geneva station to gauge local demand for the alternative fuel.

“We’d love to open stations in Penn Yan and Canandaigua in the future as well,” said Roland Penta, Phelps Sungas president and chairman of the National Propane Gas Association. The Phelps Sungas facility south of Penn Yan on State Route 14A can refuel vehicles, but only during business hours and only by trained personnel.

Proponents say autogas vehicles have significantly fewer harmful greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles, including a 20 percent reduction in carbon monoxide, 40 percent less nitrogen oxides and 12 percent less carbon dioxide, all with no decrease in horsepower or performance. Autogas users save more than $1 per gallon versus gasoline, and the overall cost of autogas vehicle implementation is much less than for other alternative fuels, according to information provided by Phelps Sungas.

Penta hosted the grand opening. State Sen. Michael F. Nozzolio (54th Senate District) and New York Empire State Development’s Finger Lakes Regional Director Bob McNary were also in attendance.

According to Penta, 10 percent of vehicles in Europe are using autogas, and the U.S. is exporting it as fast as it can. U.S. auto manufacturers are now jumping on board, and fueling stations like the one in Geneva are close behind.

The Schwan Frozen Foods fleet of trucks has been using autogas for decades, with UPS and Frito-Lay now making a gradual conversion to the cheaper and cleaner alternative. Phelps Service Center and Ferrario Ford in Elmira are currently installing Roush “Clean-Tech” systems for Ford pickups, vans, buses, and heavy trucks.

While it can cost from $4,000 to $10,000  to convert existing vehicles with EPA-approved kits that do not void manufacturer warrantees, more and more autogas cars and trucks are coming off the assembly line readymade.

With costs coming down and safety equal to that of conventional fueled cars and trucks, this alternative fuel may be a real consideration for motorist’s next vehicle purchase.

Phelps Sungas is a locally owned and operated propane marketer providing propane to the Finger Lakes area.  Learn more at www.sungas.com or by calling 315-789-3285.

Alliance AutoGas is a nationwide network of propane retailers, equipment providers and certified conversion centers that enables more fleet managers to use clean, economical American-made autogas.

Visit www.allianceautogas.com for more.