News : Proulx Fuels Change in Transportation

Sep 16, 2014

Published in Portsmouth Herald and on Seacoast Online

What does the Mount Washington Auto Road have in common with a school transportation company in Brentwood?

Both are either planning to convert or have converted vehicles to run on autogas, or propane fuel. It's an energy-efficient and cleaner-burning trend taking place all over the country, including in New Hampshire.

Proulx Oil and Propane in Newmarket is the driving force behind the slow but steady growth of autogas in the region. Company President Jim Proulx has become an autogas evangelist in part because he tested out a conversion on his personal vehicle and has converted almost 75 percent of his company's service fleet. He believes "the numbers don't lie" and that autogas makes sound business sense as a reliable alternative fuel.

"The market is still evolving and it's my job to educate people and get the word out about the economic benefits of autogas conversions," said Proulx, who recently spoke to the Raymond Rotary Club. "It has made financial sense for us to do it (conversions) to the point of replacing diesel vehicles before the end of their useful life with autogas platforms to take advantage of the economic benefits as soon as possible."

Garrett Scholes of Provider Bus Co. in Brentwood, which provides transportation for special needs students for school districts throughout southern New Hampshire, said Provider has begun a nine-vehicle pilot program after conversions earlier this year. The 14-passenger yellow buses will serve the Londonderry School District, which approved the conversions as part of its contract with Provider.

Scholes had a chance meeting with Proulx at an alternative fuel conference in Massachusetts in early 2013. Scholes began doing extensive research to determine if conversion was the right financial move for his company. He estimates Provider will save $1.50 to $2 a gallon for vehicles using autogas.

Read the full story on Seacost Online