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Which Fuel is Best to Power Your Forklifts?

If your business depends on forklifts to operate, you need to make an important decision: which fuel to use. You have three main options: propane, electric and diesel. Let’s start by taking a quick look at all three options:

forklift fuel analysis

Propane Forklifts

Propane is an approved, clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act as well as the National Energy Policy Act of 1992. Propane has always been a “green” fuel: far ahead of today’s trends. Propane is one of the lightest, simplest hydrocarbons in existence, and, as a result, is one of the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels.

If you need a forklift solution that allows you to work both indoors and outdoors, propane is your choice. Propane forklifts can be used in indoor and outdoor applications, unlike their electric or diesel counterparts. Propane cylinders can be stored and moved almost anywhere within a work site.

Propane forklifts with a typical 33.5 lb cylinder run an average of 8 hours between refueling.

With propane forklifts, simply remove the empty cylinder and replace with a full one. Refueling can be completed in 5 minutes. Learn more about the specific steps of how to exchange a propane clyinder for your forklift in this article.

Electric Forklifts

Battery-operated electric forklifts are fume free in operation and quiet in use. Many food and beverage companies have utilized electric forklifts because of their fume-free operation.

Due to  battery and charger requirements, the initial investment for an electric forklift is generally significantly higher than the other options. Moreover, the battery charging station must take up valuable warehouse space.

Electric forklifts require a charged battery to operate. This may present a problem if your business is experiencing a power outage, unlike the propane of diesel alternatives. Additionally, while a battery is charging, the forklift is unavailable for use.

Electric forklifts are advantageous for indoor-only applications, as they are not recommended for outdoor use.

Diesel Forklifts

Because of  the internal combustion engines which create exhaust fumes and diesel particulate matter, this option is not safe to use inside warehouses where air tends to remain stagnant.  

Initial investment tends to be lower than the electric alternative, but greater than the propane alternative.

The overall performance of a diesel forklift is greater than its electric alternative, due to higher torque.

Diesel forklifts require more space than the propane or electric alternatives, since these trucks are larger in size.

More Information about Propane-Powered Forklifts

To learn more about propane forklifts, check out these great resources:

Re-Power Propane Forklifts Properly

AmeriGas Forklift Brochure

Get a Quote from an Account Manager today!

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