Sunday, August 25, 2013

School Buses Go Green with Alternative Fuels


About 480,000 school buses run on diesel fuel in the US- that's 95% of all school buses. The other 5% is composed of alternative fuels: bio-fuel, compressed natural gas, and propane. Propane appears to be the fuel of choice for school districts looking to go green this year.
  • Omaha and Millard school districts in Nebraska will introduce 434 propane buses this school year- the largest fleet in the nation.
  •  Shelton, CT. is getting 60 new propane school buses this year.
  • Kentucky has purchased its first propane bus as part of a pilot program.
  •  The Fort Zumwalt School District in Missouri added 22 propane buses this year to the 8 they added last year. The district now has 18% of their buses using alternative fuels.
  •  Mesa Unified School District No. 4 in Mesa, AZ is adding 61 propane buses this year which will bring their total to 89 buses equaling 16% of their fleet.
The initial cost of a new, full-size propane school bus is about $100,000.  This only about $3,000-$4000 more than a similarly sized diesel bus. The buses get about 10% fewer miles per gallon with propane than with diesel, but over the 18-year, 277,000-mile life of a bus, propane costs $98,527 less than diesel.

I think it's great that school districts are finding a way to go green and ultimately save money on fuel costs. With approximately half a million buses on the road in the US, this is an area that local and state governments can go green an really make an impact.

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