Propane has been powering forklifts for decades. And while the energy source is widely used in operations across the country, there are still a few common misconceptions among material handling professionals. Believing these common myths about propane — regarding indoor use, refueling, and cost — could keep businesses from operating at maximum efficiency.
Truth is, propane-powered forklifts offer a number of key advantages over other fuels and provide reliable, consistent performance for a wide variety of operations. Here are three common myths, debunked:
Myth #1: Refueling propane forklifts takes too much time.
Whether in large operations or smaller fleets, propane provides the quick refueling needed to keep material moving.With propane, one cylinder typically covers an entire eight-hour shift. When a cylinder is empty, crews can simply swap it out for a full one and get back to work.
Propane’s safe, easy refueling process eliminates the need for downtime spent recharging, which is often necessary with electric equipment. Plus, companies operating with propane can also set up a tailored refueling schedule with their local propane supplier to ensure that their propane cylinder cages are always full.
Myth #2: Propane forklifts are expensive compared with other options.
Propane equipment has proven to provide cost savings throughout ownership compared with other options. Tier-4 requirements can add thousands to the purchase price of diesel equipment. Meanwhile, the capital cost of a propane forklift is approximately 30 percent lower than the purchase price of an electric forklift, according to data from the Propane Education & Research Council. The utility costs of keeping electric models charged can add up quick, too. Battery life and power output for electric forklifts diminish over time and can lead to future costs that can go overlooked, including additional costly batteries.
Beyond the initial equipment purchase and the cost of fuel, businesses operating on propane are only responsible for leasing cylinders and cages from their propane supplier. Propane cylinders can last up to three times as long as the average forklift battery.
Myth #3: Propane isn’t safe to operate indoors.
The majority of forklift fleets work both indoors and outdoors, according to data from PERC, meaning crews need equipment with true versatility. Propane, because of its clean, low-emissions profile, is safe to operate indoors — as long as the engines are properly serviced and they’re operating in a well-ventilated environment. Well-maintained propane forklifts meet or exceed nationwide indoor air quality standards, unlike gasoline and diesel, which can produce higher amounts of carbon monoxide and other harmful emissions.
To learn more about the benefits of propane forklifts, visit Propane.com/Forklifts.