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26.12.2014
USA
Sector: LPG

Houston, we don't have a problem!

Every year the authorities of Houston, Texas go big shopping and buy 150 new utility vehicles to be used for various purposes across the city. This year they chose to go for LPG autogas instead of regular petrol. Well, better late than later, huh?
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Ford F-150's in Houston's LPG fleet© City of HoustonPetrol has been becoming cheaper fast in the US lately, but autogas will always be significantly cheaper anyway

Americans like shopping and they like sales and discounts. This year the discount won't be immediately visible. In fact, initially more money needs to be spent before any savings come – autogas prep packages cost 350 dollars per vehicle, while actual conversions cost 8-10 thousand dollars each. That's quite a bit of money, but thanks to LPG, which is by approx. 1 dollar per gallon cheaper than petrol, the investment will be recouped soon enough to call the entire operation a bargain. Plus Texas is the biggest producer of LPG in the entire US, so autogas is abundant, affordable and accessible – the refueling station network is better developed than in other parts of the country.

So far, Houston's authorities have converted three test cars, paying for the procedure from their own budget. However, when the conversion program goes widescale, they intend to secure grants financed from federal funds in order to start saving on autogas sooner and more effectively. Since Houston buys 150 cars a year, obtaining funds from an outside source (like governmental incentives) is only reasonable. Hopefully, the recently dropping price of crude oil and its products (petrol in the US is or soon will be again below $2/gallon) won't kill the initiative by convincing Houston's decision-makers than going for autogas just isn't worth the effort. Especially that a feasibility study into CNG is underway. We'll keep our fingers crossed!



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Robert Markowski
source: Green Fleet Magazine



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