LIVONIA, MI - SuperShuttle, one of the most recognized airport shared-ride ground transportation companies in the country thanks to their blue and yellow vehicles, has been testing the ROUSH propane-powered Ford E-Series vans at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. So far the company has been impressed with the switch to propane on multiple fronts.
SuperShuttle currently has five 15-passenger ROUSH propane Ford E-350 vans in the Phoenix fleet, with ten more units on order. These are helping the company immediately fulfill the airport's new requirement that all servicing fleet vehicles (such as taxis, limos and shuttles) run on an approved alternate fuel such as propane.
The fuel savings that SuperShuttle is finding by running their fleets on propane was anticipated, but is still a pleasant boost to the bottom line.
"We started over the past two years looking into propane and the advantages and it just seemed like the smart thing to do," explained Ken Brooks, national purchasing manager for SuperShuttle. "Fuel savings is going to be the biggest thing. There is going to be a minimum of 75-cents per gallon savings (over gasoline).
"If this solution continues to work at the level it is proving then we will continue to add ROUSH propane-powered vans to the SuperShuttle fleet," he said.
Numerous studies have been conducted on the operational savings fleets can achieve by converting to propane as a motor fuel, and a savings calculator is available online at www.SwitchToPropane.com that allows the user to input variables specific to their usage. It is not uncommon for fleet managers to see savings of nearly $39,000 per van over a total vehicle life of 350,000 miles.
"SuperShuttle is a leader in their segment, and they are leading by example through their adoption of the ROUSH propane vans," said Jack Roush, motorsports legend and chairman of ROUSH Enterprises. "Propane is predominantly domestically-produced which helps lessen our foreign oil needs, and is much cleaner for the environment, but the fleets are most interested in the bottom line. And propane helps increase the bottom line as it historically costs around 30- to 40-percent less than gasoline."
The ROUSH liquid propane injection system works on the Ford E-150, E-250 and E-350 chassis with the 5.4L, V-8 engine. Each has been EPA certified, with CARB (California Air Resources Board) approval pending.
The ROUSH propane-fueled vehicles have no additional weight added as with some other alternative fuel options. This means that stopping distance and brake wear will be comparable to a gasoline vehicle, as well as cargo weight capabilities. Furthermore, there is no loss of horsepower or torque running on propane.
The propane tank is installed under the vehicle in the same location as the OEM gasoline tank so there is no cabin space loss for cargo or passengers. The 25-usable gallon fuel tank offers a range of approximately 300 miles. The fuel system is covered with a ROUSH 3-year/36,000 mile warranty; the Ford warranty covers the remainder of the van and engine when ordered with the gaseous prep package now offered.
As an alternative fuel, propane offers a variety of advantages. It is available "right here, right now" with a national infrastructure already in place. Propane burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel, with up to 20-percent less nitrogen oxide, up to 60-percent less carbon monoxide, 24-percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and fewer particulate emissions when compared to gasoline. It is already the third most widely used fuel worldwide, following gasoline and diesel. Propane also plays a strong role in lowering our national dependence on foreign oil, as 90 percent of the propane used today comes from domestic sources of production.
Complete details on the ROUSH propane offerings can be found online at www.SwitchToPropane.com or by calling 800-59-ROUSH. A ROUSH propane E-450 cutaway is currently in development and expected to be available in the fourth quarter.