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Iowa School District Goes Green with Propane

Iowa School District Goes Green with Propane and the Help of New Century FS

October 2015 – The Vinton-Shellsburg Community School district of Vinton, IA made the decision last year to transition some of their fleet to clean burning propane fueled buses.  New Century FS, based in Grinnell, IA was there with help in designing and installing the propane fueling station at the district’s bus facility. The district now has four buses running on propane and is planning on adding more in the future.

After extensive research and reviewing the costs, Keith McGowan, transportation director, presented to the school board and convinced them that the savings over 10 years would be slightly more than $17,000 per bus.  “The savings were not the only reason the board opted for the propane buses,” McGowan said. “The buses run clean with little exhaust smell, which is important during idling times.”

Rich Miracle, New Century FS Propane Sales and Delivery, worked with McGowan to make the propane available right on the grounds. The bus facility sits on a small tract of land and didn’t have room to place a horizontal propane tank.  New Century FS recommended an upright tank. “This arrangement has such a small footprint, it gives us plenty of room to maneuver buses into place for fueling.” McGowan shared. New Century FS also helped the district with meeting local regulations and obtaining permits.

Blue Bird manufactures the buses with the liquid propane injection ROUSH CleanTech system and labels the buses with a green bird logo instead of its traditional blue logo.

McGowan added, “One of the most important things about propane is that it runs so clean.  We are hauling the most precious cargo, and that is our students, and I think if we can help them breathe a cleaner air, it’s better for everybody.”

Since 1996, when New Century FS was created by merging Poweshiek-Jasper FS and Iowa River FS, the company has been providing farmers and local businesses with grain marketing, agronomy and energy products. Over the years, New Century FS has acquired other businesses to expand its offerings. New Century FS is a retail unit of GROWMARK, Inc. and serves nine counties in northeastern Iowa.

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