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April 21, 2016 Connecticut Green Guide

CT AAA club converting truck fleet to propane

Submitted photo One of AAA Allied's trucks converted to run on both propane and gas.

An AAA club that services five Connecticut counties is making progress on converting its 28-truck fleet to run on propane instead of gasoline, which its fleet manager says will reduce emissions and save the club money.

AAA Allied has converted six of its trucks converted so far. The fleet, which travels as much as 1.6 million miles a year, includes eight flatbeds and 20 Ford F-250s, fleet manager Glenn Chamberland said this week.

The AAA club plans to have aftermarket conversion kits installed on all 28 trucks by the end of 2017.

Chamberland said he believes it will be the first AAA club-owned fleet to convert to propane.

South Windsor-based Cusson Automotive is installing the Icom JTG Propane Liquid Injection System kits, which allow the trucks to run on either gasoline or propane, a setup known as “bi-fuel,” Chamberland said. Using both propane and gas gives each truck a range of about 600 miles, he said.

Each conversion costs upwards of $10,000, but he said expected savings from less frequent maintenance and lower fueling costs will mean a payback period of nine to 11 months per truck.

Once the full fleet is converted, annual savings are expected to be in the five figures, he said.

“This is what I don’t understand...why this isn’t more popular than it is,” Chamberland said.

One reason could be that vehicle propane fueling stations are rare in the area. AAA Allied installed its own at its West Hartford facility, Chamberland said. He didn’t give an exact price for that, but said it ranges between $30,000 and $50,000.

AAA Allied will be displaying the trucks during an event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, which is Earth Day, in Cromwell at 34 Shunpike Road. There will also be a propane-powered crane, a food truck and document shredding services, Chamberland said.

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