Maui Business

TPT Begins Transition to Zero Emission Fleet

June 2, 2016, 9:30 AM HST
* Updated June 2, 11:40 AM
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Travel Plaza Transportation is the first passenger transportation company in Hawaii to introduce eco-friendly propane buses into its fleet. The company debuted the new vehicles in a special blessing today at its TPT Bus Facility in Kahului. Photos credit: Travel Plaza Transportation

Setting a new clean air standard and fulfilling a goal to be the state’s leader in offering guests tour vehicles that promote sustainability, Travel Plaza Transportation, is converting its entire fleet to zero emission commercial tour buses by 2020.

TPT is a subsidiary of JTB Hawaii Inc. and one of the Hawai‘i’s most experienced tour companies, providing ground transportation and guided tours to O‘ahu and Maui visitors since 1979.

The eco-friendly initiative was launched today at a ceremony at TPT’s Kahului Bus Facility to debut three new eco-friendly El Dorado Aerotech 240 propane minibuses that go into service in mid-June, making them the first propane buses to be introduced in the state.

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Each of the three new propane-powered tour buses, as well as any new bus entering TPT’s fleet, will reduce its carbon footprint by 73% and 78% per bus, respectively, versus using diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles.

In addition, TPT will realize fuel and maintenance cost savings of approximately $5,000 annually per bus.

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Most importantly, TPT’s commitment will help the County of Maui and State of Hawai‘i achieve its clean energy goals.

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“With the advanced technology of our new propane buses, we can continue to support Maui’s visitor industry by providing a comfortable, quality tour experience, while having far less impact on the environment,” said Tsukasa Harufuku, president and CEO of JTB Hawaii. “We are very proud to be doing our part to help meet the energy-efficiency targets that our elected officials have established for the County of Maui and State of Hawai‘i.”

“We’re making this commitment because it is the right thing to do from a business and community perspective for the future of our island and state’s well-being,” said Yujiro Kuwabara, TPT president. “We are not sacrificing any quality with these El Dorado minibuses, as they deliver on all the comforts that guests expect when touring the roadways of Maui.”

Maui County Energy Commissioner Frederick Redell, Hawaii Gas President and CEO Alicia Moy, and Gov. David Ige’s Maui Representative Leah Belmonte expressed their support of TPT’s vision to go green with its fleet.

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“The County is excited to see new investments that grow our tourism economy while charting a course to a cleaner future, said Redell.

“Hawaii Gas has been providing gas service for hotels, restaurants and homes for over a hundred years and has been on Maui since 1960 and it is the state’s only gas utility and the largest supplier of propane across the islands,” said Moy. “We are honored that Travel Plaza Transportation selected us as a valued partner in this clean energy endeavor for vehicle fuel. Hawaii Gas applauds TPT’s commitment toward innovative strategies in protecting our delicate environment in Hawaii. Propane is one of the cleanest burning fuels, which is why both propane and natural gas are widely used for commercial transportation on the Mainland.”

TPT’s 25-seat Aerotech 240 propane buses were built in Kansas by El Dorado Bus Company. They are equipped with a Ford Propane Harden Valve Package (E-450 6.8L Gas Chassis) to ensure there is plenty of power and that no performance is compromised when carrying guests.

The Environmental Protection Agency calls propane a low-carbon alternative fuel that produces significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than electricity and many other fuels.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, propane autogas is not a direct greenhouse gas when released into the air, and current research measurements have found no global climate impact from propane autogas emissions.

When compared to conventional fuel sources, propane generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions in almost every application—including as an automotive fuel.

Tank by tank, propane autogas has a lower carbon content than gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oil, or even biodiesel and ethanol.

“Since starting our business in 1964, JTB Hawaii has prided itself in providing first-class travel services and experiences to millions of guests in the Hawaiian Islands and helping to diversify the visitor base that contributes to tourism’s success,” Harufuku added. “Equally as important, we have constantly looked for ways to improve the communities we work in and make Hawai‘i a better place for both today and looking into the future. With this effort, we are building on our 52-year legacy to serve Hawai‘i.”

For more information, visit TPTHawaii.com.

Proven Emissions Benefits of Propane Autogas From the EPA

• Propane autogas exhaust creates 60 to 70% less smog-producing hydrocarbons than gasoline

• Compared to gasoline, propane yields 12% less carbon dioxide, about 20 percent less nitrogen oxide, and as much as 60 percent less carbon monoxide

• Propane autogas cuts emissions of toxins and carcinogens, like benzene and toluene, by up to 96% when compared to gasoline

• Propane is a low-carbon alternative fuel that produces significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than diesel and gasoline in a wide range of applications

• Propane autogas has an octane rating of 106 (compared to premium grade gasoline of 91 to 92), which allows for a higher compression ratio in the engine and greater engine efficiency. This leads to significant reductions in exhaust emissions like carbon monoxide

Special guests celebrate Travel Plaza Transportation’s introduction of eco-friendly propane buses into its fleet during a blessing ceremony today at TPT’s Bus Facility in Kahului. Photos credit: Travel Plaza Transportation

Kahu Lyons Naone (second from left) gave a special blessing to Travel Plaza Transportation’s (TPT) new eco-friendly propane buses today during a special ceremony at TPT’s Bus Facility in Kahului. From left, Robert Johnson, TPT Maui operations manager, Tsukasa Harufuku, president and CEO of JTB Hawaii, Kenji Takahashi, TPT director, and Yujiro Kuwabara, TPT president. Photos credit: Travel Plaza Transportation

Travel Plaza Transportation is the first passenger transportation company in Hawai‘i to introduce eco-friendly propane buses into its fleet. The company debuted the new vehicles in a special blessing today at its TPT Bus Facility in Kahului. Photos credit: Travel Plaza Transportation

Kahu Lyons Naone (center) gave a special blessing to Travel Plaza Transportation’s (TPT) new eco-friendly propane buses today during a special ceremony at TPT’s Bus Facility in Kahului. From left, Robert Johnson, TPT Maui operations manager, Tsukasa Harufuku, president and CEO of JTB Hawaii, Yujiro Kuwabara, TPT president, and Kenji Takahashi, TPT director. Photos credit: Travel Plaza Transportation

Travel Plaza Transportation is the first passenger transportation company in Hawaii to introduce eco-friendly propane buses into its fleet. The company debuted the new vehicles in a special blessing today at its TPT Bus Facility in Kahului. Photos credit: Travel Plaza Transportation

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