Travel Plaza Transportation (TPT) is converting its entire fleet to zero emission commercial tour buses by 2020 in an effort to set a new clean air standard and fulfill a goal to be Hawaii’s leader in offering tour vehicles that promote sustainability.
The new environment-friendly initiative was recently launched at a ceremony at TPT’s Kahului Bus Facility, where they debuted three new eco-friendly El Dorado Aerotech 240 propane minibuses. The new minibuses will go into service in mid-June, making them the first propane buses to be introduced in the state.
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 percent and 78 percent, respectively, per bus, versus using diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles. In addition, TPT will realize fuel and maintenance cost savings of approximately $5,000 annually per bus. Most importantly, TPT’s commitment will help the County of Maui and State of Hawaii achieve its clean energy goals.
“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. TPT’s parent company. “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 Hawaii.”
TPT president Yujiro Kuwabara said the company is making the eco-friendly commitment because it is the right thing to do from a business and community perspective for the future well-being of Maui and state of Hawaii. “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,” Kuwabara said.
Maui County Energy Commissioner Frederick Redell supports the move. “The County is excited to see new investments that grow our tourism economy while charting a course to a cleaner future,” Redell said.
Hawaii Gas President and CEO Alicia Moy also supports TPT’s vision to go green with its fleet. “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 (EPA) 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.
“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 Hawaii a better place for both today and looking into the future. With this effort, we are building on our 52-year legacy to serve Hawaii.”
Photo courtesy of Travel Plaza Transportation