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Paratransit Fleet's Switch to Propane Autogas Pays Off

October 17, 2014

Photo courtesy of Blue Star Gas.
Photo courtesy of Blue Star Gas.

A Salem, Ore.-based paratransit fleet is reporting savings of $60,000 per year in fuel costs after converting 14 of its vehicles to run on propane autogas.

Willamette Valley Medical Transport has been using the vehicles for the past two years as part of its fleet of 30 vehicles that operate in a 120-mile service area along the Interstate-5 corridor. Each vehicles travels about 30,000 miles per year.

“We’re in a position now where I can pay cash for new vehicles instead of financing,” said Tim McClain, who started the business in 2000 with one wheelchair van. “Overall, the decision to convert has allowed us to accelerate our growth and this year we’re growing a lot in Portland, about 25-30 percent more than last year.”

McClain has converted three Ford E-150 vans, eight Ford E-250 vans, one Ford E-350 van, and two Chevrolet Express 3500 vans. He began in converting vehicles in 2012.

Blue Star Gas, one of the Northwest’s largest propane distributors, has installed a 500-gallon fueling station at the fleet's headquarters. The fleet also uses Blue Star fueling stations in McMinnville and Portland.

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