Blue Star Gas Is Proud of Its Customer at Sea-Tac,
Which Has Seen Payback on 23 Vans in 18 Months
Blue Star Gas is talking up payback of just 18 months for its customer MasterPark, a valet parking service at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport that converted 23 of its Ford E-450 shuttle buses to propane autogas.
“The investment has already paid for itself,” states a Blue Star release.
“The return on investment was very quick,” MasterPark president Jed Goniu says in the Blue Star payback announcement. “It has given us the benefit of not only savings on fueling costs – which is a substantial expense in this business – but also cleaner air.”
CNG ‘Didn’t Pencil Out’
“Not only is propane autogas an environmentally friendly and American-made fuel, it’s a smart business move for fleets looking to boost their bottom line,” said Blue Star Gas government relations director Darren Engle. He points to lower maintenance costs too.
Blue Star says that MasterPark initially bought two compressed natural gas shuttles, but that “despite government incentives, the investment simply didn’t pencil out.
“There was limited CNG infrastructure in the area, and MasterPark’s around-the-clock service demands constant refueling. Round trips for refueling were costing time and money,” says Blue Star.
Propane Kits Outlast the Vehicles
“Being able to refuel on site is an important factor,” Goniu says in the release. “It saves a lot in manpower when you don’t have to send a bus and driver through lights and traffic just to refuel. Being able to put infrastructure right at our locations was one of the biggest deciding factors.”
The company also considered electric vehicles.
“Electric is about a $50,000 upfit per vehicle,” Goniu said, “and we would’ve needed to increase the number of buses to have enough charged buses ready to go.”
“Propane autogas made sense for our business,” Goniu said. “We liked how reasonable it was to get in and we loved the idea of putting tanks on our property.”
“Our knowledge of alternative fuels was limited, but Blue Star Gas helped us every step of the way,” Goniu said. “They did all the permitting and design for infrastructure, picked up the vehicles, converted them, and delivered them back. They did a great job of presenting the conversion plan and providing training and orientation. They made it a seamless process.”
MasterPark’s buses typically last about three to five years, or 150,000 miles, because they’re constantly running. According to Blue Star, when a bus is due to be replaced, its propane autogas conversion kit can be removed and transferred to new vehicle.
“From a price point, transferring conversion equipment was the best option,” Goniu said.
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Source: Blue Star Gas with Fleets & Fuels follow-up