First Alternative-Fueled School Bus Rolls into West Virginia
Monongalia County Schools adds a Blue Bird propane-powered school bus to its fleet
Morgantown, West Virginia, August 10, 2015 (Nasdaq: BLBD) – Many school districts across the nation are implementing a cleaner, lower total cost of ownership solution for their school transportation needs with Blue Bird propane autogas school buses. Monongalia County Schools is the first in West Virginia to reduce emissions and experience the savings other districts have experienced through its purchase of the Blue Bird Propane-Powered Vision from their local dealer, Blue Bird Bus Sales of West Virginia.
“We are thrilled to introduce this new product into our fleet,” said Jeff Meadows, Assistant Superintendent of Transportation. “It is a first, not only for our district, but also for the entire state of West Virginia. I believe after one year of service we will start to see more Blue Bird propane-powered school buses in fleets across the state.”
Sales of Blue Bird propane buses are beginning to outpace traditional school bus sales, as customers are realizing the environmental and cost savings benefits, along with a quieter ride for the driver and passengers. School districts that have replaced older diesel buses in their fleets with propane autogas buses are experiencing a combined savings in maintenance and fuel costs from $4,000-$5,000 per bus, per year.
On average, a gallon of propane autogas fuel costs about half that of diesel and is a clean-burning fuel.
“The beauty of propane buses is not only the lower cost of the fuel itself, but also the lack of additional parts to make these buses compliant with EPA emissions standards,” says Trey Jenkins, VP of Alternative Fuels at Blue Bird Corporation. “Fewer parts mean lower maintenance costs. Propane is a very clean fuel, making it not only environmentally friendly, but also easier on the engine, transmission and fuel system of the bus.”
The school district has a contract with its propane provider that allows them to roll in the cost of the fueling infrastructure with the price of the fuel. They currently have two 1,000 gallon propane tanks installed at their location to fuel their fleet.
“It was very easy to get the infrastructure for this vehicle installed,” says Jeff Meadows. “They rolled the price of the infrastructure into the cost of the fuel, which will save the school district thousands of dollars when compared with infrastructure costs for other fuel types.”
The Blue Bird propane-powered Vision runs on an exclusive Ford 6.8L V10 engine and 6R140 transmission powertrain, specifically designed to work in unison, creating a best-in class propane-powered bus. This proven powertrain has tallied over 60 million miles with Blue Bird propane autogas school buses.
“Monongalia County has chosen an alternative fuel that is clean, economical and domestically produced,” said Phil Horlock, President and CEO of Blue Bird. “School districts around the nation are reducing their operating costs and lowering their carbon footprint with our class-leading propane autogas system.”
Monongalia will start running their propane school bus on the first day of school this year.
About Blue Bird Corporation
Blue Bird is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses and related parts. As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative fuel applications with its propane-powered and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio.
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