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Propane power

Bruce Smith July 7, 2009
Roush propane F-150

With gas prices steadily creeping up again, is it time to consider an alternative fuel for your truck?


By Barbara Cox

Although its debut in the automotive industry occurred more than 80 years ago, propane continues to spur interest through products such as Roush Performance’s propane-powered Ford pickup trucks and vans. Lending its clean-burning properties, propane offers the same performance, towing and torque capabilities as conventional gas-powered vehicles, while emitting 18 percent fewer greenhouse gases, 20 percent less NOx and 60 percent less carbon monoxide.

Transported and stored as a liquid but used for fueling purposes as a gas, propane has a higher octane rating, which allows it to burn cleanly without as many contaminants as traditional fuels. It’s also affordable, making it a viable competitor in today’s search for alternative fuels.

“Those who want to promote a greener image are often faced with economic challenges, but propane presents an affordable change,” says Brian Feehan, vice president, Propane Education Research Council.

Purchasers of Ford F-150s, F-250s, F-350s and the soon-to-be released Ford E-Series vans equipped with Roush’s Liquid Propane Injection kits may be eligible to receive up to a $5,000 tax credit (dependent on GVW) from the IRS, in addition to a 50-cent tax credit per gallon purchased when filed with the IRS. Owners can elect to file gallons purchased on a quarterly basis and receive their credits quarterly, or extend their filings to a later date.

A certified propane professional must refuel propane-powered vehicles.

Crunching the numbers

Equipment World had the chance to test drive a 2008 Roush propane-fueled Ford F-150 with a 5.4-liter V8 engine, and found the truck to be quiet with little difference in starting, except to turn and hold the key momentarily to give the propane time to ignite.

The in-bed propane kit for the F-150 costs $7,795 ($9,995 for the F-250 and F-350) plus a $1,000 installation fee if you go through Roush. Customers can install the propane system themselves, but Roush recommends an ASE-certified technician perform the work. The in-bed propane tank takes up 23 inches lengthwise from the back of the bed and consumes less than 300 pounds payload from the total 1,680 pounds. An under-bed option is also available for those who need more room in the back.

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