Great Smoky Mountains National Park hosted a celebration to unveil two new propane fueling stations and six new propane-fueled trucks. By incorporating these new pieces of alternative fuel equipment into daily operations, the park continues on the path to reduce carbon emissions.
“We continue to work towards meeting our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 levels by 20% by 2020,” said Park Superintendent Cassius Cash. “These improvements along with the recent addition of propane-powered mowers, electric vehicles, and DC fast-charge stations enable us to be better stewards of this special place.”
Funding for the improvements was made possible through joint U.S. Departments of Interior (DOI) and Energy (DOE) initiative called the “Clean Cities National Park Initiative” enabling the park to implement a new facet of the park’s Climate Friendly Parks program. In partnership with its two neighboring DOE “Clean Cities” coalitions, the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition and the Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition, the park purchased six Ford F250 crew cab trucks that were converted to run on propane autogas. The installation of the propane fueling stations was completed with minimal costs thanks to Sevier County Propane for the station at the North District Maintenance Area in Tennessee and Blossmon Gas for the station at the South District Maintenance Area in North Carolina.
“Propane work trucks are becoming a hot item with National Park Service units across the country. The combination of the carbon emissions reductions and cost savings help the Smokies and other parks build out there Climate Friendly Parks program while saving money,” said East Tennessee Clean Fuels Director Jonathan Overly.
The on-site propane fueling stations allow the park to maximize cost savings of time and money. The trucks can travel approximately 250 miles on propane and an additional 400 miles using unleaded fuel if necessary. In addition to the new trucks, the park also has six propane, zero-turn mowers that previously had to have their propane tanks refueled offsite, resulting in extra time spent related to refueling.
“We are saving about $0.30 to 0.50 per gallon using propane,” said Smokies Deputy Chief of Facility Management Brian Bergsma. “In addition to saving money, we have also doubled the driving range of the trucks and saved time by being able to refuel equipment onsite.”
The joint DOI/DOE funding is helping multiple national parks across the country advance their goals towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from park operations and improving air quality overall in and around the parks. Learn more at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/national_parks.html.
The East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition is a local nonprofit organization that serves the eastern half of Tennessee and works proactively with regional fleets and partners to reduce dependence on petroleum and improve air quality and sustainability. The coalition is one of the Department of Energy’s designated Clean Cities programs. Visit www.etcleanfuels.org. for more information. You can learn more about the Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition at their website, http://www.cleanvehiclescoalition.org.