GEORGETOWN, TEXASCleanFUEL USA announced the installation of 37 propane-autogas fueling stations at Menards home improvement stores. Thirty-six Menards locations throughout Illinois, as well as its Eau Claire West store in Wisconsin, will now offer publicly accessible propane-autogas refueling.

“Propane is a reliable alternative fuel that is clean, safe, and cost effective. We’re glad to be advancing our company forward into this growing market as propane is a cleaner burning fuel and less expensive, so it’s a win-win for everyone,” said Jeff Abbott, Menards, Inc. spokesperson.

The new propane-autogas fueling stations are a collaborative effort between CleanFUEL USA and Ferrellgas, a nationwide propane provider. CleanFUEL USA provided the PRO2110 dispenser and 1,000-gallon tanks, and Ferrellgas provided installation services and propane for each location. The Menards retail sites will be open during regular business hours to provide fuel for propane-powered vehicles and cylinders used on gas grills and recreational vehicles, according to the companies.

The autogas station project was funded through a $12 million grant from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Texas State Technical College (TSTC) serves as the lead grantee of the funds, which support the development of a national propane-autogas refueling network, incentives to convert school buses and other fleet vehicles to alternative fuels, and training for green jobs. The DOE estimates that the initiative will help displace millions of gallons of petroleum annually and retrain U.S. veterans, fleet mechanics, and service technicians for work in the alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technology industries.

In addition to installing the propane-autogas fueling stations, Menards partnered with Icom North America to convert 140 new Ford pick-up trucks to propane autogas for store operation use at these 37 Menards locations. The Icom, JTG II Liquid Injection System allows the propane-autogas vehicle to enjoy similar driveability and performance to gasoline with reduced emissions and large fuel cost savings. These same stores will also be receiving propane-autogas powered forklifts to replace their existing diesel powered forklifts, with the changeover already taking place at Eau Claire West. Menards also plans to steadily convert its store operation vehicles from gasoline and diesel to propane at other store locations, adding propane-autogas fueling stations in the process.

“I have worked at Menards for 12 years and after driving one of our first propane-powered pickups, found there is no difference in performance or drivability when compared to a gasoline powered pickup truck. My wife and third-grade daughter brag to their friends that I drive a more environmentally friendly pickup. It’s really a cool thing!” said Kyle Krause, general manager for Menards in Hodgkins, Ill.