2021 Industry Leadership Award Winner:
McAbee Trucking has delivered mail for the United States Postal Service (USPS) for nearly 50 years. The company currently operates from Greenville, SC to Charlotte, NC. The owner, Lisa McAbee, wanted to pursue sustainable options that would lower emissions. At the same time, McAbee Trucking needed to maintain the fleet’s impressive reliability record with customers and an on-time dispatch rating of over 99% by the USPS.
After careful consideration of safety of fueling, cost-savings and other benefits, Lisa decided to pursue propane. She participated in a propane pilot with Stephen Whaley at the Propane Research Council and Derek Whaley at Roush CleanTech. Blossman Gas supplies the fuel and Ford, Mickey Bodies, and a few other vendors worked together to ensure that McAbee Trucking was able to afford the first demo vehicle without the use of grants.
McAbee Trucking is the first USPS fleet with propane autogas trucks. These new trucks have reduced emissions in the community while allowing McAbee Trucking to maintain an impeccable on-time delivery rate. The best part is saving thousands of dollars on fuel and maintenance costs.
McAbee Trucking has forty-six vehicles in the fleet, two vehicles are compressed natural gas and six are propane. Lisa is looking to expand upon her alternative fuel usage by purchasing more CNG and propane vehicles.
Lisa has recently approached the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition for information on funding for more propane box trucks, so this project remains ongoing for McAbee Trucking. Lisa has stated that she hopes to eventually replace all her diesel vehicles with alternative fuel ones that will lower both expenses and emissions.
But it’s not just fuel cost savings that have made a difference for the fleet’s financials. Prior to propane autogas, McAbee Trucking, Inc. operated several diesel vehicles that racked up maintenance costs to fix expensive regeneration issues from diesel emission systems. By switching to propane autogas trucks, McAbee saves thousands of dollars per year. In fact, McAbee estimates she could purchase three propane vehicles with the amount of money she’s paid to solve regeneration issues in her diesel fleet over the last 1.5 years. McAbee has been able to lower emissions without compromising performance or reliability.
Propane autogas engines are significantly cleaner than the old diesel engines. Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are reduced by 90%. While this is important for the environment, McAbee also noticed that the health of drivers is better now that they do not have to breath in diesel emissions. In addition, propane autogas vehicles do not need to idle in cold weather or while drivers are loading trucks. This results in happier, healthier employees. Lisa’s drivers have also mentioned how much they enjoy driving the propane trucks over the diesel trucks and support her decision to purchase more of those vehicles.
Lisa mentioned “As a business owner, I continually look for ways to add safety, improve day-to-day operations, advocate for environmental preservation, and save money. Our new propane fleet vehicles accomplish all these goals.” After nearly a year on the road, McAbee is pleased with the propane vehicles performance. With improved day-to-day operations, reduced emissions, and cost savings, McAbee is encouraging other USPS delivery fleets to transition to this proven alternative fuel.