In Metro Atlanta, Fulton County Schools is doing its part to improve air quality and clean up emissions. The school district adopted 90 clean-burning Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses. As the district’s Sam Ham says, the propane buses are clean, green and lower cost. The shop manager adds that drivers love the quit ride of the bus. Along with noise reduction, the district has also seen a cut in oil change costs — oil for one service takes 30 quarts for diesel and just 7 quarts for propane.
It’s been said that the days go slow, but the years go fast. Now I’m living that truth as I watch everything around me — from my children to our alternative energy business — change to something different and even better than before. If we stop to notice, the landscape for alternative fuel vehicles looks different than it did just a year ago last summer.
Volkswagen Update: June 2018
Twelve states have finalized their Environmental Mitigation Trust plans. Nineteen states have draft plans, and 19 are still in development. We are getting down to the finish line for making the case for propane school bus funding. If you haven’t reached out to your representative, now is the time.
As of June 2018:
12 states have final plans:
Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
19 states have draft plans:
Arkansas, California, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Vermont and Washington
19 states are still developing their plans and are accepting comments:
Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming
Each state has been assigned a beneficiary, usually an environmental or energy government entity. A state listing can be found on the VW Settlement Clearinghouse website. If your state has drafted or are still drafting its plan, please contact Chelsea Jenkins at Chelsea.Jenkins@roush.com to discuss how best to approach your state agencies.
We don’t want to miss this opportunity to get more funding for propane school buses!
Visit www.roushcleantech.com/volkswagen-settlement for more information.
Over 100 Customers Attend Ohio Blue Bird Event
Recently, Blue Bird coordinated several “Blue Bird Experience” events with dealerships across the U.S. One of them was the Ohio Experience hosted by Cardinal Bus Sales and Service. It took place at the Transportation Research Center’s Honda test track in East Liberty with a full day of scheduled activities. And, it was a hit with over 100 customers in attendance!
The goal of the event was to provide area school district officials and state legislators the information needed to increase the safety of school bus fleets, put more money back into the classroom, and take advantage of available school bus funding opportunities.
Tony Rumer, the president of Cardinal Bus Sales, organized a day filled with a packed agenda. The attendees — more than 100 school transportation directors, technicians, bus drivers and school officials — arrived around 9 a.m. and were given a comprehensive packet that included information on all the vendors present along with an agenda of the day. Then, they broke into 10 different groups. Each group visited 10 pre-arranged stations throughout the day for 20 minutes each session. Product partners, including ROUSH CleanTech, Michelin, Safe Fleet and more, led the sessions.
Cardinal Bus Sales and Service’s session gave attendees the opportunity to get behind the wheel. Each attendee had the opportunity to drive the buses on the test track. The attendees were exposed to an impressive line-up, including buses fueled by diesel, gasoline and propane.
Shawn Dawson, fleet manager of Westerville City Schools, said, “This event gave me a lot of confidence in continuing to purchase Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses. The partnership between Ford, Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech is so strong.”
The event received press attention, too. Here is some of the press coverage gained throughout the Blue Bird Experience tour.
- Canada event: Niagara This Week and School Transportation News
- Florida event: The Ledger and Digital Journal
- Ohio event: Business Wire and STN
- Texas event: School Transportation News and School Bus Fleet
Challenges Increase for Diesel Vehicles
The second phase of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards are about to kick in. Model-year 2021 trucks will be the first vehicles covered by this phase and will need to meet new standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve fuel efficiency. The regulations create an entirely new set of challenges on medium-duty diesel vehicles — and more opportunity for propane bus sales.
According to an article in HDT, the regulation requires certification at a vehicle level as well as at the engine level. To meet Phase 2 regulations, manufacturers will need to integrate the right combination of technologies across the entire vehicle. By using the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Model tool, manufacturers can simulate all the parameters of the powertrain to see which combinations will meet the regulations.
The GHG Phase 2 regulations contain specific standards for both the engine and the vehicle, and they are further divided into three application classes: tractors, vocational trucks, and heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans (or medium-duty trucks.)
As you can see, things are getting more complex when dealing with diesel. Share the news with potential customers. Then stress the simplicity of the propane engine and how it does not need to meet any of these complicated regulations.
If you have any questions, please contact Ryan Zic at Ryan.Zic@roush.com.
According to a new report by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), propane autogas school bus registrations in the U.S. have increased by a whopping 700% in the last five years. The report says school buses powered by propane autogas are transporting approximately 928,000 students every day at more than 840 public and private school districts in 48 states. For the report, PERC used vehicle registration data from IHS Polk.
Over the last few years, there has been a lot of discussion about NOx — or nitrogen oxides — and the negative impact it has on many levels within our society. The problem was brought to light in 2014 when West Virginia University released its report on Volkswagen diesel engines that significantly exceeded the allowable threshold for NOx.
Buyers and sellers of technologies that make fleets run cleaner and more efficiently gathered in Long Beach, Calif., April 30 through May 4 at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo. This annual event featured five days of workshops, forums, sessions, and networking. Two days also included a trade show in which exhibitors showcased the latest transportation technologies, powertrains, and clean fuels. There were more than 3500 registered participants and more than 950 registered fleets.
The 2018 Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, California last month was electric with talk of all the clean energy vehicle solutions and funding opportunities that are currently available and those to come. The event also saw its largest school bus presence to date. The significance of the yellow bus to alternative fuel conversation was apparent by the packed room that showed up to hear School Transportation News Editor-in-Chief Ryan Gray host a roundtable discussion on effective school bus replacement strategies on the first full day of the Expo, just prior to the opening general session on May 1.
In February’s issue, I wrote an article pointing out the comparisons of new alternative fuel power plant emissions to pre-2010 diesel. I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of the propane engine supplier representatives as I viewed the comments made as a positive outcome and informative for you as readers to evaluate.