CARROLL, GA – The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office near Atlanta is saving an estimated $135,000 annually in fuel costs running 36 Ford Crown Victorias on propane autogas through the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program (SPADP). The clean fleet will also displace more than 105 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, according to the SPADP.

Carroll County first switched six cruisers to autogas through Alliance AutoGas in 2009, and then in 2010 received SPADP funding to convert an additional 30 vehicles. The average Carroll County Sheriff’s Office patrol car drives about 30,000 miles each year.

In 2012, the County was awarded funding assistance for the conversion of 10 more vehicles through SPADP, which is managed and administered by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and Virginia Clean Cities (VCC) at James Madison University. With all 46 fleet vehicles running on autogas by early 2013, the County anticipates more than $170,000 in fuel savings while eliminating more than 130 tons of emissions each year.

Carroll County Sheriff Terry Langley began researching options for alternative fuels because major fluctuations in gas prices were continually causing budget problems. He said propane autogas was the most practical option, and that the propane autogas vehicle program has been well-received by county officers.

“At first there were some questions about the flammability of the fuel, to which we explained that the fuel is as safe as gasoline – in fact, the autogas tanks are many times more puncture-resistant than gasoline tanks,” Sheriff Langley said. “With a little bit of education and fueling training, the officers felt comfortable operating the propane autogas vehicles. Now we even have officers request to drive the propane autogas vehicles because they have better pick-up.”

The department’s work often includes interstate travel, and officers have not had issues locating propane autogas fueling stations in other states.

“The move to propane autogas has been an excellent one for our county,” said Sheriff Langley. “We have achieved more control over our budget, it’s a safe fuel that burns cleaner, and our officers like the vehicle performance. I wish we had made the switch sooner.”