Delaware Transit Corp. officials (DTC) unveiled the agency's new propane fuel station in New Castle along with plans to increase its fleet of propane-powered paratransit buses. DTC will operate 130 of these alternative-fuel vehicles for its DART paratransit service by FY18.
After a two-year pilot program testing five propane autogas paratransit buses, the transit agency purchased 50 more this year, and will purchase an additional 75 by 2018. That will bring the total number of propane autogas-fueled vehicles in DART's paratransit fleet to 130 — almost half the fleet. Each of these vehicles is built on the Ford E-450 chassis with 6.8L V10 engine, and equipped with a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system.
"Our first five propane-fueled buses collectively traveled 450,000 miles with no fuel system-related failures, and saved $15,000 in fuel costs alone," said John T. Sisson, CEO of Delaware Transit Corp. "That, combined with the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, made it an easy decision to expand the propane program with our new private fuel stations and 130 buses by 2018."
Currently, DTC pays $.78 per gallon for propane autogas compared with $1.75 per gallon for gasoline.
Each of the propane autogas paratransit buses will reduce more than 91,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over its lifetime compared to gasoline models. Propane autogas is a low carbon alternative fuel that reduces greenhouse gases by up to 25 percent, 60% less carbon monoxide and fewer particulate emissions versus gasoline.
ROUSH CleanTech has deployed almost 11,000 propane autogas vehicles to fleets across America. Of those, about 800 operate in the transit industry.
The ROUSH CleanTech Ford E-450 bus has completed Federal Transit Administration's New Model Bus Testing Program ("Altoona Testing") and is certified for sale in all 50 states by the California Air Resources Board and Environmental Protection Agency. Altoona-tested vehicles can be purchased using a transit agency's FTA funds.
Sharp Energy, a subsidiary of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation, will provide the fuel supply for the DART paratransit buses along with providing technical and maintenance support for DART's vehicles and fueling stations.