May 24, 2013

Home Improvement Retailer Offers Propane Fueling

After driving one of our first propane-powered pickups, I've found there is no difference in performance or drivability when compared to a gasoline-powered pickup truck. My wife and third-grade daughter brag to their friends that I drive a more environmentally friendly pickup.      
Kyle Krause, Menards Store Manager
Propane vehicle drivers will now be able to refuel at 32 new locations throughout Illinois and Wisconsin, thanks to collaboration among CleanFUEL USA, Ferrellgas, and Menards home improvement stores. The project was funded in part by a U.S. Department of Energy American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) award to Texas State Technical College. Through the project, CleanFUEL USA and its partners establish fueling stations and convert vehicle fleets to propane operation. Under the partnership, CleanFUEL USA provided the dispensers; Ferrellgas provided 1,000-gallon tanks, installation services, training, and propane for each location; and Menards hosts the stations at its stores.

"Menards saw an opportunity not only to improve the environmental impact of its own operations but also to further enhance the communities it operates in," said Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition (CACC) Coordinator Samantha Bingham. CACC will promote the availability of Menards' publicly available stations to fleets across the Chicago region. Menards hoped to offer propane both as a vehicle fuel and for customers to fill portable cylinders for gas grills and other such uses. So CleanFUEL USA developed a special dispenser, the CFT 2200, which can accommodate both uses.

The Menards store in Hodgkins, Illinois, hosted a grand opening in December 2012. Following the ribbon cutting, store manager Kyle Krause demonstrated filling a Menards propane Ford F-150. "After driving one of our first propane-powered pickups, I've found there is no difference in performance or drivability when compared to a gasoline-powered pickup truck," Krause said. "My wife and third-grade daughter brag to their friends that I drive a more environmentally friendly pickup."

Looking ahead, Menards has plans to convert 140 new pickups to propane operation for these stores, which will also receive propane forklifts to replace their existing diesel equipment. The home-improvement retailer plans to steadily convert more of its store operation vehicles to propane and expects to add five more propane fueling stations this year.

Menards store manager Kyle Krause fuels one of the company's new propane pickup trucks.