Roush’s Green Future: Propane
While the name “Roush” may be synonymous with NASCAR racing for many people because of the Roush-Fenway team, Roush Performance (www.roushperformance.com
) is expanding its reach beyond auto racing and the aftermarket performance parts market to build a more “green” image through the development of propane-powered vehicles. After launching a limited production propane-powered Ford F-150 in 2007, the company is expanding the lineup to include the ’09 F-250 pickup and E-250 van. Customers can order the propane trucks directly from their Ford dealers or order an $8,995 conversion kit—the vehicles qualify for federal tax rebates of up to $4,500—which includes a bed-mounted 50-gallon tank, billet-aluminum fuel rail system, revised evaporative emission control system, and reconfigured engine control module. Roush has already converted more than 200 F-150s as part of its initiative and says it has the capacity to convert as many as 10,000 vehicles at its 1 million-ft.2 Livonia, MI, facility.
Roush says it’s banking on propane because the fuel—which is derived from the processing of oil and natural gas—is readily available. While propane does suffer from reduced fuel economy of as much as 17% compared to gasoline (propane-powered F-150s achieve 15 mpg highway; the lowest-rated gasoline-powered F-150 gets 18), the fuel produces 20% less nitrous oxide, 60% less CO, and 18% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than its fossil fuel competition.