New autogas-powered shuttles in Virginia
To carry out the conversions, the VCU's Parking and Transportation department partnered with the Virginia Department of General Services, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (reimbursing conversion costs through a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant), Alliance AutoGas (fuel supplier) and Virginia Clean Cities (identifying alternative fuel incentives offered by the state). Five of the seven converted shuttles are based on Ford E-450 chassis, while the remaining two on Ford E-350 chassis.
The RamSafe fleet provides evening transport services for VCU students, faculty and staff all year round. The shuttles collectively cover approx. 150 thousand miles (240 thousand km) a year, which means every single vehicle covers 15 thousand miles/24 thousand km, which is perfectly enough to make autogas conversion economically viable.
This is neither the first nor (it's safe to say) last example of a bus/shuttle fleet going autogas in the US. While most similar news concern school buses or paratransit shuttles, this particular one is about a university, but the common denominators here are financial savings and reduced exhaust emissions made through the use of autogas instead of conventional fuels. Thumbs up for the VCU!
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