A number of communities around the area are now using “green” public buses. They use propane gas instead of diesel to lower emissions. Some school districts are also switching to propane, and Wa-Nee Community Schools is one of them.
Monthly Archives: October 2019
The 18 buses delivered to Newport News Public Schools may look ordinary, but a unique fuel powers them: propane. Their arrival marked a special milestone—the 15,000th propane bus delivered by Blue Bird. Newport News Public Schools operates a fleet of 335 buses, with 62 of them fueled by propane, an emission-reducing, cost-effective alternative fuel. The district has run propane buses for two years and will add 11 more by the end of 2019.
North Penn School District in southeastern Pennsylvania has unveiled 14 new propane autogas school buses, comprising both Blue Bird Vision Propane and Micro Bird buses. North Penn School District currently pays $0.97/gallon for propane compared with $2.04/gallon for diesel. The district has a newly installed, on-site fuel station with an 18,000-gallon tank capacity.
10.23.19 — North Penn School District unveiled 14 new cost- and emission-reducing propane school buses at a ribbon-cutting event at North Penn High School.
Ryan Newman’s No. 6 Ford Mustang will pay homage to another legendary American vehicle this weekend when the NASCAR Cup Series returns to Martinsville Speedway, carrying the iconic Blue Bird School Bus colors. “As a parent, I was interested to learn about what ROUSH CleanTech is doing to help make school buses safer, more economical and environmentally friendly,” said Newman. “The Blue Bird paint scheme reflects the familiar yellow bus that we all grew up riding to school and I think the fans are going to love it when they see it on the track in Martinsville.”
Volkswagen Update: October 2019
To date, states have announced over $205 million in Volkswagen Settlement awards. These funds have deployed nearly 2,400 on-road vehicles and installation of almost 700 pieces of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. School bus projects have received the highest amount of funding by vehicle type ($89 million) as well as deployments (1,600 buses). Of those, 570 school buses are fueled by propane and were awarded nearly $26 million.
Remember, that’s only a fraction of the $2.9 billion fund that has been awarded. There is still a tremendous amount of opportunity out there.
Of the 570 propane buses, results are divided among 13 states. Those successes include Lafayette, Louisiana and various districts in Nebraska and South Carolina. 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.
Another example that shows how our effectiveness has increased is that the first round in Louisiana was 40 percent propane / 60 percent diesel. The second round took a huge turn with 70 percent propane / 30 percent diesel.
If you need additional information, the Propane Education & Research Council’s resource center offers in-depth information about propane school buses. It includes a state-by-state map with details regarding how to identify and apply for Volkswagen settlement funds. You can learn more about the benefits of propane autogas, how to accurately evaluate NOx reductions, and how to calculate the total cost savings for propane autogas.
Please contact Chelsea Jenkins at Chelsea.Jenkins@roush.com to discuss how best to approach and plan for the next phase of Volkswagen settlement (and other funding) opportunities in your state. Visit www.ROUSHcleantech.com/volkswagen-settlement for more information.
Side-by-Side Gasoline School Bus Comparison
Last month, ROUSH CleanTech’s Ryan Zic and a Blue Bird dealer performed a side-by-side evaluation of two gasoline buses: a Blue Bird Vision and an IC Bus CE. We’ve heard accounts of IC Bus swooping in and winning with the low-cost bid. We performed the test because we want to provide you with real life data to help you sell more gasoline buses against the competition.
Both buses were driven on the same route with the same driver. The buses were judged based on multiple benchmarks, including vehicle specs, acceleration, grade performance and sound performance. Although not an official third-party study, Zic and the dealer used their combined bus knowledge along with basic economic tools to determine the results.
In our informal test, we found that the Blue Bird / ROUSH CleanTech gasoline school bus:
- Tested better in performance in all categories compared to the competition.
- Tested better in fuel efficiency compared to the competition.
- Offered the lowest total cost of ownership when comparing both gasoline school bus models.
The total lifetime savings for a Blue Bird Vision Gasoline bus is $24,000 LESS than an IC gasoline bus. You’ll find more details on these results in our one-pager entitled, “Gasoline Bus Comparison Test,” which is for dealer use only and is not intended as a marketing piece for end users.
We encourage you to tell your customers to do their own research and due diligence on the gasoline products. And stay tuned for more materials that will help you sell against a low-bid option. We also want to extend a big thank you to Tim at United Truck for helping make this comparison possible!
And Our Q3 Winners are…
Throughout 2019 we’ve had a sales incentive that’s all about increasing propane bus sales. For each quarter, the Blue Bird dealer salesperson who books the most new propane customers and the most repeat propane customers during that quarter will be awarded $2,500! And our Q3 winners are…
- Craig Horinka of Rush Bus Centers for securing the most new propane customers.
- Shooter Roberts of Yancey Bus Sales & Service for securing the most repeat propane customers.
Congratulations to Craig and Shooter! Contact your ROUSH CleanTech alt fuels sales rep to claim your $2,500 prize.
Lock It In! Propane Prices Lowest in Three Years
Here’s another reason for your customers to purchase propane buses now: even lower fuel costs. Did you know that propane autogas prices are at a three-year low? Not only do your customers benefit by paying less, but a one- or two-year locked-in rate helps with their budget planning and annual ownership costs.
Currently the national diesel average (as of September 30) is $3.07 per gallon. Compare that to as low as 40 cents a gallon for propane in some parts of the nation right now (like New Jersey). Over the past 30 years, propane has been, on average, half the cost of diesel. Right now it’s 60 or 70 percent lower.
The demand for propane is expected to increase a bit with crop drying season. But right now, inventories and productions are up, and the U.S. has more than 100 million barrels in storage.
This is an ideal time to encourage your customers to purchase propane buses and then lock in a propane price with their local fuel provider. And remember, most propane providers will install an on-site propane station for very little cost — sometimes as little as zero cost — with a propane fuel contract. We want school districts to know that fueling should not be a barrier to propane bus purchases.