Issue 5 (47)/ May 2011

Truckers! You're about to learn how to save $200 per day at the pump!

These days when gas prices are skyrocketing, drivers are looking for any possible way to reduce gas consumption: from small things like maintaining proper pressure in tires, avoiding unnecessary trips, trying to drive smoothly, car pooling etc. But, really, savings from these measures are inessential, especially when we are talking about fleets. PHD Group Canada Inc., company based in Mississauga, Ontario, offers its customers much more "radical" way to save on fuel consumption we talking about 20% in savings. We met the key specialist of the company Darek Szuba and asked him a few questions
Truckers! You're about to learn how to save $200 per day at the pump!
DorogaRoad: What does PHD Group Canada Inc. exactly do?
Darek Szuba: The key word here is propane. For trucks, we mix diesel with propane, we inject the propane with diesel into the engine, which allows you to save between 10 and 20% on fuel within one month.

DorogaRoad: Is the conversion you are offering only appropriate for heavy trucks or for any type of vehicle?
Darek Szuba: It's for diesel engines. For gasoline engines, the conversion is to 100% of propane.

DorogaRoad: Is it because you can't mix gasoline and propane?
Darek Szuba: You can mix gasoline and propane, but you can only run a gasoline engine on 100% propane, whereas you can't do it with diesel engines. That is why we mix it for diesel, and do complete conversion for gasoline engines.

DorogaRoad: Can you say a few words about the PHD Group Canada Inc., the company?
Darek Szuba: The company was founded in 1967. Robert Jekosz has owned the company for more than ten years. We started as a manufacturer of propane heaters, but lately we've been specializing in converting trucks and cars into propane, helping our customers to save at the pump. The conversion kits we install are of our own design.

DorogaRoad: Can you explain in plain English what your specialists are doing under the hood of the vehicle/truck?
Darek Szuba: As for trucks, we add a computer which controls the amount of propane injected, we install injectors, a pressure regulator, some wiring, and we install an extra tank for propane storage.

DorogaRoad: How about passenger cars?
Darek Szuba: the process is basically the same but it works a bit differently. We install a tank, again, electronics, which is a computer, wiring, harness, injectors, pressure regulator, valve etc. but the difference is that for diesel engines we mix diesel and propane, but gasoline engines can run on 100% propane. It's still dual fuel a gasoline tank remains in place, so by pushing a button on a dash you can switch to running on gasoline, or on propane any time. But it is either 100% gasoline, or 100% propane. Usually when you have propane in the tank and you start the car, it starts on gasoline to warm up the engine. When the engine (coolant) is warmed up to 35-40 degrees it switches to propane by itself, the computer does it for you, and you run on propane until you have it. When you run out of propane it will give you a signal and switches back to gasoline without you noticing it. Or you can always push the button to override the current setting.

DorogaRoad: How about the manufacturer's warranty? Is it compromised?
Darek Szuba: As far as I know, it doesn't affect the warranty.

DorogaRoad: How long does it take to install your kit on a truck?
Darek Szuba: It is usually takes one full working day, about 12 to 14 hours.

DorogaRoad: Is it the same for a car?
Darek Szuba: It's about the same for a car, maybe a couple of hours less.

DorogaRoad: Let's assume my truck is equipped with your technology, and I go across North America - Canada, United States - is it legal everywhere?
Darek Szuba: Yes, everything we install is approved by TSSA and the American Safety Association, and we provide all the necessary safety stickers.

DorogaRoad: I understand that the kit you install can be removed at any time.
Darek Szuba: Yes, you can always remove it; put it into another truck or a car. For example, when they get rid of an old truck, we pull the system out and put it into a new one.

DorogaRoad: No doubt, this conversion should be done by a qualified mechanic. But what if a customer would like to buy your kit and install it themselves? Can they do that?
Darek Szuba: Well, they cannot do it, because they would need that special safety sticker, which we get from PSSA, and you have to be registered there, you need a license to do those kind of things, the mechanic has to be licensed to work with propane, the shop needs to be checked by them, and then they approve you, and you get registered. Otherwise you cannot get the sticker, and without this sticker no one will fill you up, and they have to check it on the pump. So unless you are registered and certified to do it, you cannot install our equipment by yourself.

DorogaRoad: What is an approximate cost for the customer, to convert a truck or a car?
Darek Szuba: I can give you a rough estimate. For a car it will be starting from $3200 dollars, for a 4-cylinder engine.

DorogaRoad: Is your own car already equipped with this kit?
Darek Szuba: Yes, I have a Dodge Durango and a Nissan Murano, but they are not diesel, so they both run on propane.

DorogaRoad: How about that feeling that you are saving at the pump?
Darek Szuba: With the car, actually, savings are bigger than with the truck. You run 100% on propane, propane now costs about 60 cents per litre, while regular gasoline is about 135 cent per litre, and some cars run on premium gasoline. I filled up my Nissan Murano yesterday for 50 dollars.

DorogaRoad: So what would be the price of a full tank of gasoline versus propane for your Nissan Murano?
Darek Szuba: I have an 80 litre tank, so its 110 dollars for regular gasoline and you save about 50-60 dollars on propane. So gasoline cars save you more than diesel ones. At the same time trucks do a lot of mileage, so there are great savings, too. Truckers would spend not a hundred, but a thousand dollars a week on fuel, so let's say to save 10% to 20% on diesel bill is a lot of money. It translates into savings of up to $200 per day.

DorogaRoad: Should one book an appointment in order to convert their car or truck, or just stop by?
Darek Szuba: They better book an appointment, because we are usually booked for three upcoming weeks.

DorogaRoad: Thank you for the interview. Toll free number for PHD Group of Canada is 1 800 220 5513.

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Trucking execs asked to be terror-aware

A tractor-trailer filled with hazardous materials could be terrorists' next weapon of mass destruction, according to a panel of terrorism experts gathered recently in Concord, NC. And the group encouraged trucking executives to play the front line of defense in guarding against such an attack.

The FBI's Craig Moringiello said terrorism is changing. Future attacks are more likely to be conducted by one person, "a lone wolf," he said, such as the Fort Hood shooter, the Christmas underwear bomber and the Times Square bomber.

"We need your industry's help in identifying these lone offenders," said Moringiello.

More than 100 trucking executives attended the one-day security conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway that focused on improving ties between the government and industry leaders. The conference was hosted by Odyssey Logistics & Technology, a national company with offices in Charlotte that coordinates shipping for chemical and manufacturing companies.

The panel included experts from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration. Some speakers referred to truck drivers as "American road warriors" and "road patriots." They urged the executives to conduct extensive background checks on their drivers and look for unusual changes in their lifestyles, and to be aware of materials being transported to or from odd locations.

Kenneth Ward, a transportation security specialist with the Transportation Security Administration, cited the threat of a hazmat truck being driven into a major city and blown up.

He told the executives to imagine news cameras converging onto the scene, filming the devastation, interviewing witnesses, and then possibly focusing on the logo of what's left of the truck used in the attack.

"Unfortunately your name becomes synonymous with a terrorist event that you couldn't ever imagine," he said.

Moringiello noted incidents of tanker trucks being stolen and suspicious driving students seeking hazmat permits. Another speaker said five major interstates run through North Carolina, including three near Charlotte.

"Whether it's narco traffickers, human traffickers, weapons trafficking or terrorism, the trucking industry is our eyes and ears out there," said Maj. Marc Nichols, Director of Special Operations and Motor Carrier Enforcement Administration for the N.C. Highway Patrol.

One panelists pointed out how lethal a truck bomb can be, citing the 1993 attack when terrorists drove a rental van carrying a 1,500-pound bomb into the underground parking garage at the World Trade Center. The bombing killed six people and was intended to topple the buildings.

Nichols said Charlotte is popular with crime syndicates because of its central location and proximity to major highways connecting other major cities such as Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

John Kavanaugh, a former assistant director of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, said Charlotte may not be the origin or the destination for a truck bomb but one could be transported through the area.

"Everyone has to be vigilant," he said. "You don't know what the target will be."