In a follow-up to last week’s blog post, the Pittsburgh Business Times published a letter to the editor from Alliance AutoGas President Stuart Weidie in response to their article on taxi cabs switching to autogas.
Since a majority of the letter is unfortunately located behind a paywall, here is the full text of what Weidie had to say about the misconception of propane autogas prices:
DOE data on gas pricing paints inaccurate picture
I just came across your article about Pittsburgh’s Yellow Cab Co. converting 75 fleet vehicles to run on propane fuel. While it’s fantastic that you’re shedding light on a lesser known domestically produced alternative fuel like propane autogas, it’s important to note the DOE data you reference (listing propane as more expensive than gasoline) is actually skewed for a couple of reasons.
First, the DOE data paints an inaccurate picture of autogas pricing. In surveying propane prices, the data they aggregate includes retail propane prices that are not specific to propane as an engine fuel (propane autogas), so their figures don’t accurately indicate what fleets are paying at the pump.
Because of the volume of propane used in a vehicle fuel applications, propane autogas prices can be significantly lower than the price of propane for more traditional applications (including RV’s and grill cylinders). Establishing an accurate depiction of autogas pricing is something the industry is constantly working to achieve.
And last, propane has a higher octane rating than gasoline, so autogas-powered vehicles exhibit greater fuel efficiency than the DOE data indicates. Since the DOE data strictly compares fuels on a BTU basis, it doesn’t take into account the impact that octane has on efficiency.
Stuart Weidie, founder, Autogas for America, and president, Alliance AutoGas