Billions of Dollars Remain for VW Funding, Propane School Buses

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.

The good news? There’s still plenty of opportunity to remove older, dirty diesel trucks and buses and replace them with a cleaner-burning technology, like propane autogas.

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 more than 500 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 almost $17 million in publicly announced awards, with more announcements coming daily. We’re thankful for the leadership of our Blue Bird dealer partners and our school district customers in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee. They are in the process of successfully deploying over 400 new Blue Bird propane school buses, which will bring economic savings and emission reductions to the communities in which they operate.

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. The focus is and will continue to be NOx reduction as we know the negative health effects it has, especially on the developing lungs of children.

What can you do? Reach out to your state’s beneficiary. (You can find this information on the Volkswagen Settlement Clearinghouse website here.) Discuss how low NOx propane school buses will substantially reduce NOx while benefiting school districts and communities throughout the entire state. You can visit ROUSHcleantech.com/volkswagen-settlement, or contact us at 800.59.ROUSH to discuss how best to approach and plan for the next phase of Volkswagen settlement (and other funding) opportunities in your state.

Have a great Thanksgiving!