Va. Beach auto shop converts cars to run on propane

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by Joe Flanagan

WVEC.com

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 17 at 7:22 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Rob Torrisi, owner/operator of Tidewater Imports has been certified to convert cars from running on gasoline to running on propane.

"This is a hybrid so it actually starts off on gasoline until the engine reaches 130 degrees and then switches over to propane, so it uses very little gas," explained Torrisi.  "Probably the first mile or two of driving every day is all the gas you will use."

This all started when Virginia Clean Cities was awarded an $8.5 million dollar federal grant for projects like propane conversions.  Rob partnered with Alliance Auto Gas and in addition to doing conversions, he also wants to establish a propane pumping station on South First Colonial Road for fleet cars and for individuals.

"There's been a lot of speculation that after the first of the year, gas is going to go up to over $4.00 a gallon.  So the higher gas prices go up, the more attractive this is going to look to a lot of people," concluded Torrisi.       

The cost of a propane conversion isn't cheap, though.  It runs about $5,500.

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