Nicholas Trucking unveils emissions-reducing, cost-cutting propane trucks

Oct. 27—COURTDALE — Alexander Nicholas, chief operations officer for Nicholas Trucking, this week said the company's goal is to transition away from diesel and continually add more near-zero-emission vehicles to their 45-vehicle fleet.

"Propane is familiar to all of us, and it's something we can trust," Nicholas said. "It's cleaner and safer than most other alternatives."

Nicholas Trucking Co., Inc., an 80-year-old, family-owned Pennsylvania-based USPS mail contractor, now operates safe, clean, economical trucks fueled with propane autogas.

The company runs multiple USPS delivery routes across Pennsylvania, and through this adoption, it said it is now providing cleaner air for the community.

With assistance from the Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Transportation, Nicholas Trucking was awarded $93,000 through Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Driving PA Forward program to purchase the three Ford F-750 propane vehicles.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Nicholas Trucking, the company announced it plans to add an additional five trucks within the year to further drive its emissions reductions.

"Vehicles that run on propane emit fewer greenhouse gases, smog-producing hydrocarbons, and particulate emission than conventional fuels," said Todd Mouw, executive vice president at ROUSH CleanTech, a manufacturer of advanced clean transportation technology. "Our propane engines are 90% cleaner than the Environmental Protection Agency's most stringent standards."

Nicholas cites the rising cost of diesel as one of the major catalysts for the company's move to propane vehicles. Nicholas Trucking is currently saving more than 53% on fuel costs and will get $0.37 per gallon additional savings through the federal alternative fuel tax credit.

"Propane vehicles offer the lowest total cost of ownership of any fuel type — conventional or otherwise," said Steve Whaley, director of autogas business development with the Propane Education & Research Council. "It allows fleet owners to significantly reduce emissions while saving on operation and energy costs — and do it without compromising on reliability, range, or performance,"

Nicholas Trucking elected to install fueling infrastructure onsite through a partnership with AmeriGas.

"It's great," said Nicholas. "We don't have to wait in line to fuel, we always know how much we have left in the tank, and we can easily track our monthly and weekly use. Plus, it saves on additional costs that a fueling station may charge."

Nicholas Trucking Co. has also received positive reviews from its staff.

"There are a ton of things our drivers love about the new trucks," Nicholas said. "The power and torque are the same as diesel, and drivers don't go home smelling like diesel fuel every day. They are surprised with the power a propane engine can produce. Our diesel engines do not do nearly as well in the cold."

Reach Bill O'Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.