The McDuffie County School district is finding ways to cut the cost of fuel for its school buses. Buses are ready to head out to the bus stops on Monday for the first day of school, but these buses will be different, running on propane instead of gasoline. The school district has added four new propane buses. Two more to be delivered next month.
Stephan Whaley, director of autogas business development for the Propane Education & Research Council, opened the Sunday session by pointing out that in order to phase diesel out of a bus fleet, the alternative fuel must perform just as well along with being cleaner, cost-effective and sustainable.
Fleets must take a bridge to get from using all traditional fuels and arrive at utilizing alternative fuels, either in a portion of their fleet or their entire fleet. It’s fair to say challenges will arise along the journey to incorporating propane autogas in a fleet, but some benefits also come along with it.
Three clean-operating propane school buses arrived at Fort Smith Public Schools this month, marking the district’s first alternatively fueled bus purchase. Amid rising gas and diesel prices, the district expects to save 60% in fuel costs and thousands of dollars more in maintenance costs.
There are more than 22,000 propane school buses on American roads in 49 states, transporting 1.3 million kids to school daily. Chances are, if you don’t operate propane buses, a neighboring district or regional school bus contractor does.
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A program funded by last year’s federal infrastructure law could help hundreds of Ohio school districts replace aging diesel school buses, but applications for this year’s funding competition are due within the next six weeks. Clean air advocates are trying to get the word out about the U.S. EPA’s 2022 Clean School Bus Program, which offers rebates to help public schools replace up to 25 diesel buses with electric, propane, or compressed natural gas vehicles.