Smokies upgrades to cleaner fuel

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park now boasts two new propane-fueling stations and six new propane-fueled trucks following an unveiling April 5. 

The purchases are part of the park’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent of 2006 levels by 2020. This is the third phase of a three-phase plan to progress toward that goal. 

Funding comes from a joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of Interior and Energy, called the Clean Cities National Park Initiative. In partnership with two neighboring Department of Energy Clean Cities coalitions — the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition and the Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition — the park was able to buy six Ford F250 crew cab trucks that were converted to run on propane. Thanks to Sevier County Propane and Blossman Gas, the propane fueling stations were installed at minimal cost. 

In addition to reducing emissions, the propane fueling stations will save money. 

“We are saving about 30 cents to 50 cents per gallon using propane,” said Smokies Deputy Chief of Facility Management Brian Bergsma. “In addition to saving money, we have also doubled the driving range of the trucks and saved time by being able to refuel equipment onsite.”

The joint DOI/DOE funding is helping multiple national parks across the country reduce greenhouse gas emissions from park operations and improve air quality overall.

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