Menards install 37 public Autogas refueling stations across the United States
Menards, a family-owned home improvement company with 270 retail stores, has installed 37 publicly accessible propane Autogas refuelling stations. Located at various retail stores, the stations will be used to fuel Menards’ own fleet of new Autogas pickup trucks, but are also open to the public for refuelling personal vehicles, recreational vehicles and barbeque grills.
“Propane is a reliable alternative fuel that is clean, safe and cost-effective. We’re glad to be advancing our company forward into this growing market as propane Autogas is a cleaner-burning fuel and less expensive, so it’s a win-win for everyone,” said Jeff Abbott, spokesperson for Menards.
Building Accessible Propane Infrastructure
When Menards hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new retail sites last month, both employees and the public came out to see the ease of refuelling and learn the benefits of this clean, domestic energy source.
“We commend Menards for making propane Autogas readily available to the public by expanding on the nation’s existing infrastructure,” said Roy Willis, president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council, who spoke at the ceremony. “Menards has embraced public propane fuelling as a solution in a variety of applications, including fleet vehicles, bottle service and propane generators. Menards has joined the ranks of companies that have seen how Autogas can help them and their customers cut costs and slash their carbon emissions — all while getting the job done.”
“We commend Menards for making propane autogas readily available to the public,” said PERC President & CEO Roy Willis, as he spoke before a large crowd gathered at the Menards propane autogas station opening.
Across the nation, companies are working with the propane industry and federal and state governments to develop a stronger national propane Autogas infrastructure.
“One of the main goals of our grant was to establish a national network of propane Autogas refuelling locations,” said Anita Knight, principal investigator for this grant programme, which was part of the US Energy Department’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “The addition of 37 Menards store sites accelerates the initiative to expand the use of propane Autogas in the United States dramatically.”
Menards customers can refuel at any of the 37 new publicly accessible propane autogas refuelling facilities. Menards recently converted 140 new trucks to run on autogas.
Another private/public partnership, the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program, strengthens the number of Autogas vehicles and refuelling stations throughout the southeastern United States, with more than 1 200 vehicles and 30 new stations. This initiative is creating jobs while displacing gasoline usage. It has so far eliminated 16 000 tons of airborne pollutants.
And political support for propane Autogas is encouraging. The recent legislation to avert the country’s “fiscal cliff” extended two alternative fuel tax credits — a 50-cent-per-gallon alternative fuel tax credit and an alternative fuel infrastructure credit of 30% of incremental costs up to a ceiling of $30 000 through to December 2013. This will bring even more Autogas purchasers to the market.
Open for Business
Menards’ new refuelling stations are a collaborative effort between two industry experts. CleanFuel USA, a leading supplier of propane Autogas infrastructure and engine systems, provided the dispensers and 1 000-gallon tanks. Nationwide propane supplier Ferrellgas provided installation services and the fuel for each location.
“Menards is clearly at the forefront in the home improvement retail world in providing environmentally friendly fuels to the public. Their plans to continue expanding the availability of Autogas, which provides the same or better performance as gasoline, will benefit their customers, giving them a wider choice of refuelling options,” said Curtis Donaldson, founder and CEO, CleanFuel USA.
Menards’ 37 new autogas stations are accessible right in the parking lots of their home improvement retail stores. “It’s a win-win for everyone,” says Jeff Abbott of Menards.
In addition to 140 new propane Autogas trucks, converted by Icom North America, Menards plans to replace its existing fleet of diesel-fuelled forklifts to propane. Menards stores carry a variety of propane-fuelled products, including generators of various types and sizes for retail. And in the future, Menards plans to expand this network of refuelling stations even more as they aim to convert store operation vehicles to run on propane autogas at other locations, installing more stations in the process.
Menards follows other internationally recognized names, such as DHL, Sears, and SuperShuttle that have installed Autogas stations in the United States. 2013 will bring even more “big name” companies using autogas, which in turn will encourage other smaller fleets to follow.
Government funding of public Autogas stations helps displace millions of gallons of petroleum annually and creates jobs by training veterans, fleet mechanics and service technicians for work in the alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technology industries.
Autogas programmes that incorporate comprehensive education, outreach and marketing campaigns increase public understanding of the benefits and viability of Autogas as a reliable vehicle fuel. And privately owned companies like Menards that deploy an extensive Autogas infrastructure help to lay a solid national foundation for increased consumption of the fuel in the United States. The potential for increased popularity of Autogas across the country in 2013 looks very promising.
To learn more about PERC and its Autogas programmes, visit www.autogasusa.org.
For more information on Menards and its efforts to incorporate propane into its business practices, visit www.menards.com. For more information on the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program, visit www.usepropaneautogas.com. You can reach Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.