Autogas costs $1.69/gallon less than gas, explains Stuart Weidie
April 14, 2011/Autogas Fleet/--Following the introduction of the NAT GAS Act last week, the propane industry came out swinging, asking legislators why propane autogas had been excluded from the bill. Industry leaders such as Roush CleanTech, Ferrellgas, CleanFUEL USA, as well as Autogas for America and the NPGA pointed out the narrow scope of the bill that excluded all other viable alternative fuels.
"The transportation industry has already embraced a variety of alternative fuels such as propane, which is domestically produced and provides the same environmental and economic benefits as natural gas," Curtis Donaldson, Founder and CEO of CleanFUEL USA said in a press release. "If the U.S. is serious about energy independence and reducing our carbon footprint, we need to remain fuel neutral and preserve the freedom for consumers to choose from a menu of alternative fuels," he added.
The industry pushback sparked media interest in autogas, and Connecticut Post reporter Vinti Singh interviewed multiple propane company heads about the NAT GAS Act. The article, "Propane industry miffedby exclusion from federal alternative fuel legislation" (4/10/11), quoted AFA Founder and Alliance AutoGas President Stuart Weidie regarding the competitive pricing of autogas. "Like natural gas, propane is cheaper than gasoline. Currently, propane-fueled vehicles in the U.S. pay $1.25 less per gallon than they would for gasoline," Weidie had explained to the reporter.
Following the article, the president of the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association sent a rebuttal to the figure Weidie quoted. Citing a Connecticut study that surveyed propane prices for residential heating, adding in other 'fuzzy math' while omitting the 50-cent-per-gallon alternative fuel tax rebate for autogas, the 'real' price of autogas is supposedly $4.82 per gasoline gallon equivalent of autogas.
Not so fast, replied Weidie. That grossly overestimated figure is typical of the confusion surrounding alternative fuel pricing, he explained.
"A common misconception is that autogas costs the same as retail propane. This is not correct. Autogas is the name for propane that is used as vehicle fuel – it has a different name and a completely different pricing structure. Because of volume and economies of scale for fleet customers, the cost of autogas is not reflective of the prices of propane for residential, agricultural and commercial/industrial applications. The data provided by the Petroleum Association comes from a report that clearly indicates it lists propane 'prices for home heating only' – that is, the price of propane delivered to individual homes," Weidie noted.
Weidie's reponse then quoted actual autogas prices that real fleets are paying across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. A survey of real autogas and gasoline prices follows: