The City of Springfield, Illinois has made a significant commitment to power their entire fleet of police vehicles and a portion of their municipal utility trucks on Autogas. According to Mike Palazzo, Springfield's Fleet Manager, there are currently 57 police vehicles and seven public utility trucks running on the environmentally-friendly and clean fuel. Another six new police vehicles are on order to be converted to run on Autogas. The police vehicles include Ford Crown Victorias and Ford Explorers.
Prairieland FS , based in Jacksonville, Illinois supplies the bulk Autogas to the city at two locations. Autogas is the common name for liquefied petroleum gas (propane).
William McCarty, Director of Budgeting and Purchasing for Springfield, was instrumental in promoting the use of Autogas to city leadership. McCarty, along with Palazzo, attended the NAFA Fleet Management Association in St. Louis a few years ago and learned about the advantages of Autogas. "The savings to the city is what initially intrigued me about the Autogas," McCarty said. He estimates that the city saves between $80,000 and $100,000 per year on fuel alone – not accounting for reduced maintenance costs associated with converted Autogas engines.
"Working with our local FS distributor, someone who we have already partnered with for years as our primary fuel supplier, was very important in the process because they had the knowledge and insight we didn't have," McCarty added. Prairieland FS set up the first bulk tank at one of Springfield's maintenance garages and a second tank at a local fire station and provided training on how to properly and safely refuel the vehicles.
ICOM based in New Hudson, Michigan supplies and installs the conversion kits for the Ford Explorers. "We held off on the purchase of the Explorers until a kit became certified to work on those engines. ICOM was the first one to have the kits closest to getting that certification," McCarty said. When ICOM received the certification, the city moved forward on the purchase of the Explorers.
Prairieland FS is a member cooperative of the GROWMARK System.