Virginia Commonwealth U. retrofits 70% of fleet to propane

Posted on August 31, 2015

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Parking and Transportation converted 70% of its RamSafe fleet to operate on liquid propane bi-fuel through a partnership with the Virginia Department of General Services; the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy; Alliance AutoGas and Virginia Clean Cities. The conversion is projected to save the division more than $20,000 in annual fuel costs.

VCU Parking and Transportation operates RamSafe as a point-to-point evening transportation service for students, faculty and staff 365 days per year. Service is offered within defined boundaries on the Monroe Park and MCV campuses with the majority of the requested trips traveling to and from university-owned buildings and residential housing. Annually, the RamSafe fleet travels approximately 150,000 miles.

The liquid propane conversion marks the first significant step VCU Parking and Transportation has taken in efforts to operate a more sustainable fleet. It puts the university one step closer to its goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below business-as-usual emissions by 2025.

“The decision to invest in a more sustainable fleet simply made a lot of sense,” said Craig Willingham, fleet manager at VCU. “VCU is a great setting to support alternate fuel usage. In addition to promoting a safer environment and cleaner burning fuels within the vehicle fleet, there are opportunities for cost savings.”

The requisition for the conversion was completed through a state contract with Alliance AutoGas, which also serves as the official propane provider.

Virginia Clean Cities, which assists in the improvement of the commonwealth’s air quality through the promotion of alternative fuel, also worked with VCU Parking and Transportation to identify incentives as part of the overall state transition to alternative fuel.

Reimbursement for conversion costs will be provided through a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant offered by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.

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