The Missouri Propane Education and Research Council recently presented Student Transportation of America with a check for $20,000 for its acquisition of new propane school buses, which are in service throughout the Kansas City Public Schools district.
2019 Award Winners
Congratulations to the following dealers for achieving first in each category! Great job to these dealers, and all dealers who sold propane or gasoline school buses this past year. Keep up the good work!
Most units: Yancey Bus Sales
Most new customers: A. Girardin
Most units: Rush Truck Centers
Most new customers: Hoover Bus
District Unveils New Propane-Fueled School Buses at Media Event
North Penn School District in Pennsylvania kicked off the deployment of its new propane buses with a ribbon-cutting event. In front of school officials, company representatives and various media, the district unveiled its 14 new propane-fueled buses.
North Penn School District currently pays 97 cents per gallon for propane compared with $2.04 for diesel. The district has a newly installed, onsite fuel station with 18,000-gallon tank capacity.
The district’s drivers are impressed with the power of the new propane buses and the low amount of noise that the engines create. Buses fueled by propane reduce noise levels by about half compared to a diesel engine. Drivers note that the propane buses make for a much quieter and calmer bus ride for the students.
“With a propane bus, I am able to monitor activity inside the bus much better than I’d ever been able to before,” said bus driver William Gottshall. “If something is going on inside the propane bus, I know about it immediately.”
Steve Skrocki, the district’s chief financial officer, spoke during the event. “I like numbers, especially this math equation. This math adds up,” he said. “More savings, plus an environmentally clean and safe operation equals a win-win for the North Penn students and community.”
Tina Stoll, school board president, agreed. “Replacing some of our older diesel buses with these clean energy propane buses really spoke to the board’s vision. Propane fuel costs a fraction of what diesel costs and maintenance costs are much lower. For every dollar that we can save with these kinds of things, we can push back into the classroom because that is our ultimate mission.”
These Blue Bird Vision Propane and Micro Bird buses were funded in part by the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust to support projects that reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions. The district plans to purchase more propane buses with the budget it saves in fuel and maintenance.
Newport News Public Schools has been operating Blue Bird Vision Propane buses since 2017. The recent delivery of 18 new buses marked a milestone — Blue Bird’s 15,000th propane bus! This accomplishment was celebrated during an event at the district’s new transportation facility.
NNPS operates a fleet of 335 buses of which 62 are fueled by propane. The district has run propane buses for two years and will add 11 more by the end of 2019. School district and school bus contractor use of propane school buses has increased 800 percent in the last seven years, according to the Propane Education & Research Council.
According to Brian Hanna, maintenance manager for NNPS, the district has saved $800 on oil changes alone with each of its propane buses compared to its diesel buses. And, he said that propane buses cost less to fuel, as well, about 80 cents less per gallon.
To accommodate its growing propane fleet, the district installed a second propane station that can fuel two buses at once. Its original fuel infrastructure will be used at a smaller onsite bus lot.
Like many other school districts, Newport News did its homework before purchasing propane buses, ensuring it had an onsite infrastructure set up and taking advantage of training offered by both of our companies, Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech.
Volkswagen Update: November 2019
Since the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal emerged, the $2.9 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust has only awarded about $205 million. These funds have deployed nearly 2,400 on-road vehicles and installed 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). The good news? There are still plenty of opportunities to remove older, dirty diesel trucks and buses and replace them with a cleaner-burning technology, like propane autogas. The bad news? The bulk of the funding for school buses has gone toward more diesel buses!
It’s our job to secure funding for the purpose it was developed: to encourage projects that reduce these harmful emissions. In terms of the number of alternative fuel vehicles deployed by this funding, propane school buses are leading the pack with almost 570 deployed using these settlement funds. In a dollar-for-dollar comparison of Type C school buses, buses fueled by propane autogas reduce NOx the most. Propane buses cost $91 per pound of NOx reduced. Diesel buses cost $1,330 per pound of NOx reduced, making propane buses 93 percent more cost-effective. And, electric buses cost $268 per pound of NOx reduced, making propane autogas 66 percent more cost-effective.
We have already seen nearly $26 million in publicly announced propane bus awards, with more announcements coming daily. We’re thankful for the leadership of you, our Blue Bird dealer partners, and our school district customers in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee. They are in the process of successfully deploying over 400 new Blue Bird propane school buses.
There is still a tremendous amount of opportunity out there. For the past three years, our government affairs team has worked with the state beneficiaries to develop funding programs that create competitive opportunities and encourage level playing fields for all alternative-fuel technologies.
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 or www.propane.com for more information.
It’s easy to see why electric vehicles are perceived to be the future of automotive technology. They’re better for the environment and require less maintenance, which can save money for fleet owners. But they aren’t the only progressive fuel option available with those benefits. Propane autogas is one of the most popular automotive fuels in the world, with more than 27 million vehicles across the globe.
It’s been a few years since the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal emerged and almost $15 billion earmarked to settle it. Of that, the $2.9 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust, which funds transportation projects that reduce NOx emissions, has only awarded about $150 million.
More than a year has passed since Volkswagen (VW) announced its $2.9 billion contribution to an Environmental Mitigation Trust, resulting from its 2016 emissions cheating scandal settlement. Since it was first announced, the contribution has had one sole purpose – to fund transportation projects that significantly decrease nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Each state received millions of dollars, which could be used to finance a variety of fleets, from diesel, to electric, to propane. In fact, propane vehicles have competed from the start for up to $1.3 billion of the Environmental Mitigation Trust investment, according to Gladstein, Neandross & Associates’ Funding 360 team.
Propane autogas (the term for propane or liquified petroleum gas when used in vehicle transportation) vehicles have been on the scene for over 100 years. During the past decade, advancements have been made to liquid propane systems. New calibration and catalyst innovations are taking these propane vehicles to near-zero emissions levels, making a strong case for adoption.