Photo of the propane autogas shuttle courtesy of ROUSH CleanTech .

Photo of the propane autogas shuttle courtesy of ROUSH CleanTech.

LeeTran, a transit department of Lee County, Fla., has increased its propane fleet to make up 45% of its entire paratransit fleet.

The agency added more propane autogas-fueled shuttles this month, totaling the number of propane vehicles in the fleet to 20. This addition will reduce fuel costs by 20%, according to LeeTran.

“We are converting our vehicles to operate on propane autogas for a number of reasons. It’s an American made fuel with significant environmental benefits; converting to propane infrastructure is more affordable; and propane autogas offers lower fuels prices,” said Robert Southall, maintenance manager of LeeTran. “Currently, we are paying about 50 cents per gallon for propane autogas compared to about $1.46 for diesel, which is on the rise.”

The propane autogas paratransit shuttles will be used for shared ride, advanced-reservation trips for people with disabilities. The passport shuttles travel 30,000 miles per year.

Each of the agency’s passport shuttles is built on the Ford E-450 chassis with 6.8L V-10 engine. The shuttles are also equipped with a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system with extended range 64-usable-gallon fuel tank.

By fueling with propane autogas, LeeTran is eliminating 1.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the shuttles’ lifetime, according to the transit agency.

The ROUSH CleanTech Ford E-450 shuttle 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. LeeTran secured FTA funding to cover 85% of the total bus purchase.

The agency, which provides approximately 4 million rides per year, plans to switch its entire paratransit fleet to propane autogas within the next five years.