Monthly Archives

June 2019

Monthly Archives: June 2019

Volkswagen Update: June 2019

Volkswagen Update: June 2019

More states have finalized their VW funding plans. Currently, 46 states have published funding opportunities representing $2.3 billion — with $132.7 million of that exclusively allocated for school bus replacement. Unfortunately, most of the current funding is going toward diesel.

We’ve had many successes with the EMT funding school buses fueled by propane autogas, such as in Lafayette, Louisiana and various districts in Nebraska. In Iowa, 100 percent of the applications seeking propane school buses were funded. And in Tennessee, 14 districts won funding to replace diesel school buses with alternatively fueled buses.

But, we still have some states with huge funding opportunities available in 2019 and we need your help. Remember, the entire objective of the VW Environmental Mitigation Trust fund is to reduce NOx emissions. Let’s work together to create a strategy that meets your state criteria. Our highest applicant success rate has been when we focused on NOx reductions, emissions cost-effectiveness, match funding and project location.

As of June 2019:

46 states have final plans:

Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Three states have draft plans:
Kentucky, Mississippi and North Dakota.

Three states are still developing their plans and are accepting comments:
Florida, Puerto Rico and West Virginia.

Propane Specific Preventive Maintenance

Propane Specific Preventive Maintenance

Propane autogas buses do promise less maintenance requirements than diesel. But, that doesn’t eliminate all service needs. We’ve put together the top three preventive maintenance guidelines you should be following to help keep your propane buses running smoothly.

#1. Fuel Filters

Propane autogas fuel systems require much less maintenance than diesel fuel systems and are more comparable to gasoline fuel systems. When operating a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system, it’s recommended that operators follow the same maintenance intervals and fluid specifications as called out by the OEM for the gasoline engine.

The only additional maintenance items for our propane autogas fuel systems are fuel filters. One filter is added into the filling line on all generations of our fuel systems. Another one is the supply line filter between the fuel tank and engine on a Generation 4 style fuel system.

Both fuel filters are serviceable without draining the propane from the fuel tank. There are no maintenance items within the fuel tank requiring it to be drained for any type of service.

These two filters are recommended for changing out every 50,000 miles.

If the operator notices a decreased filling rate on a unit as compared to others in the fleet, it could be a sign of a partially clogged filter and should be replaced regardless of the vehicle’s mileage.

#2. Fuel Tank – Corrosion and Refinishing

Propane autogas fuel tanks should be inspected for signs of surface rust or corrosion on an annual basis. If corrosion or surface rust is found, the fuel tank should be refinished to inhibit any further surface rust or corrosion from forming.

We’ve worked with our propane autogas tank suppliers to develop refinishing procedures. We also have a FAQ document which answers many common questions about tank corrosion and tank inspection at http://www.roushcleantech.com/service-manuals/.

#3. Special Tools

ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel systems work with standard OBD II diagnostic equipment and require very minimal tooling. However, we created a list of relatively low-cost special tools that we recommend you have in your shop. That list can be found at http://www.roushcleantech.com/training/.

We also have information on several types of propane transfer systems. These can be used to speed up the repair process when in-tank repairs are necessary and require the propane fuel to be drained from the tanks. There’s the ROUSH CleanTech Transfer System that uses in-tank fuel pumps plus two other manufacturers’ transfer systems we recommend. You can find out more at http://www.roushcleantech.com/training/.

We’ve also developed our own diagnostic software application, known as the ROUSH RDT tool. This tool is available to download for free. It’s like other OEM forms of diagnostic software and requires the use of one of our recommended pass-through devices to communicate between the vehicle and the computer. To download the free ROUSH RDT tool, or for more information about the recommended pass-through devices, visit http://www.roushcleantech.com/rdt/.

 

If you have any questions about preventive maintenance, please contact Mario Genovese at Mario.Genovese@roush.com.

Dealer Spotlight: Student Transportation of America

Dealer Spotlight: Student Transportation of America

Student Transportation of America (STA) has been committed to adopting propane school buses for over seven years. And, they’re still buying, including a recent purchase of 400 Blue Bird Vision propane buses. That’s because STA has a goal to have 25 percent of its fleet run on propane.Dealer Spotlight - STA 6.17.19

“Domestically produced, clean-burning propane autogas is a perfect fit for school bus fleets,” stated Gene Kowalczewski, Chief Operating Officer of STA’s School Transportation Group. “At STA, we convey to school districts that there are economic, safety and environmental benefits of propane-powered school buses and our leading the way with alternative-fueled student transportation is one of the differentiators for us.”

STA is at the forefront of the industry in the use of alternative fuels, including propane autogas technology. Its clean fleet has grown to include over 2,000 vehicles, most of which are Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses. The company has invested millions of dollars in placing alternative-fueled vehicles in California, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

Founded in 1997, STA operates close to 16,000 vehicles, providing customers with the highest level of safe and reliable student transportation, management, logistics and technology solutions throughout the U.S. and Canada.

We’d like to thank STA for their continued commitment to reducing its carbon footprint by providing school districts the option of propane-fueled buses.

Propane Races Ahead

Propane Races Ahead

Did you know that propane autogas powers more than school buses? In fact, you may be surprised to find out that it’s used in drag racing, too. For almost 10 years, racers Susan Roush-McClenaghan and Donnie Bowles have used cutting-edge engine technology to win races with propane.Alt Fuel - Susan Drag Racing

And, they win with no sacrifice racing against traditional fuels in an “open fuel” class. They’ve racked up numerous championships — proving that propane doesn’t compromise performance.

“The class we race in is ‘open fuel’ so it’s propane competing against other race fuels or traditional fuels with no handicapping of the fuel,” said Roush-McClenaghan. “It’s just fuel to fuel.”

Roush-McClenaghan and Bowles both drive Ford Mustangs with Coyote engines at a staggering 890 horsepower with two fuel injectors per cylinder and a supercharger.  Propane has such a high octane rating that there’s only a four-horsepower difference between propane and C14 (race fuel). The racers can reach 150 mph in just 9.19 seconds!

Even though a school bus won’t reach those rates, they do share many of the same attributes as their motorsport counterparts. Both the racecar and the Blue Bird Vision propane engines use liquid propane injection with a base Ford engine and, in some cases, share the exact same components.

Roush-McClenaghan supports the use of propane because it is clean and domestically produced. And she and Bowles have multiple wins to back it up. In just nine years of racing they have brought in eight championships, with four each. Currently, Susan is in first place for this season!

Interested to see more? Come to a race!

Sandusky’s Bus Fleet’s a Gas – Propane, That is

They may cost a little more up front, but the savings are significant on the road. Duane Paehlig, transportation and maintenance supervisor at Sandusky Community Schools is sold on propane buses. Seven of the district’s fleet of nine buses run on propane, since the district started to switch from diesel about four years ago.

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1 Billion Miles and Rolling

This month, we celebrate the deployment of our 20,000th propane autogas vehicle. In less than a decade, we’ve deployed thousands of Blue Bird school buses, Ford commercial vehicles and transit buses fueled by propane autogas. These vehicles have accumulated more than 1 billion miles across the U.S. and Canada.

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Fueling Better Driver Recruitment

With the current strong economy and low unemployment rates, many fleet owners report difficulty with hiring and retaining drivers. If you’re looking for drivers, you might start with your vehicles’ fuel tank.

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14 School Districts in TN Win Funding for Alt-Fuel School Buses via VW Program

On May 22, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) released an announcement about all of the school districts in Tennessee that will receive almost $9 million in grant funding to support school bus replacement projects across Tennessee. Of those districts, at least 14 districts won funding to replace diesel school buses with new alternative fuel buses!  See the featured image map (above) and list of districts that won funding for CNG, electric and propane school buses.

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