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JMU News


JMU helps Virginia Clean Cities convert 1,189 vehicles to propane

James Madison University has converted 12 vehicles to run on propane autogas as part of a Virginia Clean Cities initiative that retrofitted 1,189 vehicles in the largest propane deployment project in U.S. history involving a government partnership.

"The collaborative applied research partnership between JMU and Virginia Clean Cities on this program is an example of our campus' contributions to national sustainability issues and is particularly appropriate today, which is national Campus Sustainability Day," said Christie-Joy Brodrick Hartman, executive director of the JMU Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability.

The conversions have reduced greenhouse gas emissions at JMU by about 2 tons this year and departments using the propane-powered vehicles are experiencing a considerable cost savings on the fuel.

The conversions took place through the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program, which is supported by funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program and is administered by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and Virginia Clean Cities at JMU. The conversions completed through SPADP displace about 1.2 million gallons of gasoline and decrease the carbon dioxide footprint by about 6,000 tons each year.

"In this project, the full complement of vehicles were converted and are successfully fueling and driving on cleaner and less expensive domestic propane,” said Alleyn Harned, executive director of Virginia Clean Cities. “This milestone is the result of years of hard work and collaboration with project partners and Clean Cities Coalitions throughout the country."

Across 12 states and 36 fleets in the Southeast, program participants are significantly saving on fuel cost and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by running vehicles on American-made propane autogas. Over 47,000 labor hours have been invested since the project’s inception in 2009. In Virginia, the program has helped a variety of public and private fleets convert vehicles to autogas, including JMU and the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office.

Propane autogas, also referred to as liquefied petroleum gas, is the most widely used alternative fuel in the world, with more than 17 million autogas vehicles on the road globally. Autogas is cleaner than gasoline and can be around $1.50 less per gallon; and, with more than 90 percent of the U.S. autogas supply made in America, propane autogas is cost-effective and widely available.

The vehicle conversions in this program took fleet vehicles that run on gasoline and upfitted them with the bi-fuel PRINs VSI propane autogas system. This bi-fuel approach is enticing to fleets because the system can run on gasoline if the autogas tank runs low, and often the kit can easily be switched from a retiring vehicle to a newer model with little cost or downtime.

About Virginia Clean Cities

Virginia Clean Cities is a regional nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy, economic and environmental security through petroleum reduction and clean transportation. Virginia Clean Cities is a state and federally recognized coalition of stakeholders staffed in partnership with James Madison University. The coalition operates dozens of domestic fuel and environmental education and deployment projects for federal, state, agencies and private partners. To learn more, please visit

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Contact: Michael Phillips
Virginia Clean Cities