In an effort to save money and reduce its carbon footprint, Phoenix airport parking and shuttle company, PreFlight Airport Parking, converted three of its shuttle buses to propane autogas.

The company first converted three of its Ford E-450 shuttles to propane autogas bi-fuel systems in 2016. Three more of the vehicles, which can use either propane autogas or gasoline at the flip of a switch, will be converted by early summer, with the goal to eventually convert all 14 shuttles used at Sky Harbor International Airport. After experiencing technical issues with other fuels, such as diesel, PreFlight was ready to make the switch to propane autogas.

Avoiding downtime on in-service buses was an important factor to the company in making the switch to propane, both in providing service to its customers and being able to service its vehicles quickly.

A public fueling station that supplies propane autogas is close enough to not inconvenience the fleet, but the company is also working with Blue Star Gas to install an on-site refueling station. Blue Star Gas, a major supplier of propane in the western U.S., introduced PreFlight Airport Parking to propane autogas and helped the company with conversions and training.

“Blue Star Gas provided some ‘How-To’ videos for our mechanic, and helped us get a computer program that we could plug right into the fuel system and it would tell us if everything was running properly or if there were any error codes and what that meant,” said John Walsh, PreFlight market officer. “It was probably the simplest training we’ve ever had to do after a new bus purchase.”

Walsh said the company also wanted to incorporate propane autogas into its fleet for the environmental benefits. Propane releases fewer emissions than diesel and gasoline. This is particularly important to Phoenix, which has struggled with air quality issues. Reducing emissions with propane autogas benefits the business and the community.