- Why Autogas
- Press Room
Recent claims within the school bus industry state that diesel buses are clean, cost-effective and easier to maintain — while casting doubt on propane autogas. Here are some of those recent statements made about “clean” diesel school buses — and the facts about propane-fueled models.
Fiction: Diesel is clean and has the lowest carbon footprint over the operational life of a school bus.
Fact: Modern diesel emissions are much cleaner than they used to be and typically do well in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Propane engines also have very low greenhouse gas emissions — and also significantly reduce the toxic emission constituent of nitrogen oxides (NOx) at four times less output than modern diesels. This is important because most NOx emissions are sourced from the transportation sector whereas only a small percentage of greenhouse gas emissions are sourced from transportation. Greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide are inert gases and are part of what we exhale. NOx pose considerable danger to human health and air quality.
“Propane is definitely the direction to go, away from diesel and emission issues,” said Neal Higgins, mechanic for Bibb County School District in Macon, Georgia.
Fiction: Diesel buses are easier to maintain.
Fact: Today’s diesel buses may be cleaner than year’s past, but they are cleaner only through complexity, like expensive equipment and high-maintenance systems, which aren’t required on propane autogas school buses. To meet federal emission standards, a diesel bus has 20 additional parts — that’s 20 components that need to be maintained. They include diesel particulate filters, manual regeneration and diesel exhaust fluid, and other complex after-treatment devices.
“There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through with diesel due to of all of the EPA emission standards. New EPA-certified diesel buses have become much more expensive and difficult to maintain,” said Bruce Thomas, master technician for Adams 12 Five Star in Thornton, Colorado. “For our district, the upfront costs have increased substantially just for equipment to pass newer emission standards.”
Fiction: When you look at all the factors, diesel buses offer the lowest total cost of ownership.
Fact: More than 800 school districts are saving 20 to 50 percent on a cost per mile basis for fuel and maintenance operating propane buses compared to diesel. School bus fleets have saved between $400 and $3,000 per propane bus per year when compared to the diesel buses they operate. Propane has the lowest cost of infrastructure of all transportation fuels, saving money on fueling station needs. Historically, propane autogas averages 50 percent less than diesel.
“We tracked data on both a propane bus and a diesel bus of the same model year. The propane bus was driven for bus routes on dirt roads with multiple stops and starts,” said Brian Swestaka, director of transportation for Howard-Winneshiek Community School District in Cresco, Iowa. “The diesel bus was used as an activity bus, mostly highway miles. The propane bus still operated significantly cheaper than the diesel bus due to fuel and maintenance savings.”
Fiction: Many alternative fuel engines aren’t built for medium-duty use.
Fact: The Ford 6.8L engine is built specifically for medium-duty applications. Introduced in 1997, there are more than 1.8 million of these engines on the road today. This is the engine used in more than 10,500 Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses transporting students to and from schools across the nation.
While there is an upfront cost associated with converting a vehicle or buying a new dedicated propane autogas model, the low cost of the fuel compared with diesel often translates to a quick return on investment. Most fleets that make the switch recoup their investment within 18 months of use.
“A state grant paid for the incremental cost difference of our propane buses, which meant we could start saving money right away since our fuel and maintenance costs are much lower than with our diesel buses,” said Ricky Phillips, vehicle maintenance manager of Clarksville-Montgomery School District in Montgomery County, Tennessee
Whatever type of fuel used, school districts around the nation must work within their operational budgets and environmental goals. Hundreds of school districts have chosen propane and are proving it’s a clean-burning and economical transportation fuel.
Ryan Zic is the school bus sales director for ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of alternative fuel vehicle technology. His expertise includes direct sales, original equipment manufacturer management and Tier 1 sales and support. Reach him at email@example.com or 800.59.ROUSH. To learn more, visit ROUSHcleantech.com.
State program provides school districts money to replace aging buses
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) just announced $6.2M funding under their newly expanded Clean School Bus Program. The Clean School Bus Program open now will provide grants to public and charter schools as well as school transportation companies statewide to install exhaust retrofits as well as replace older diesel school buses with new school buses. One of those options includes replacement of older buses with cleaner-burning propane autogas school buses.
The Propane Council of Texas is excited about a new opportunity to put cleaner school buses on Texas roads. According to the EPA, diesel exhaust is exceptionally harmful to children because their lungs are not fully developed. Not only that, but these older diesel buses produce higher amounts of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which is a greenhouse gas that contributes to smog, ground level ozone and is associated with adverse health effects. Cleaner-burning propane school buses are available from top school bus manufacturers.
“Texas is home to over 26,000 pre-2007 diesel school buses. If school districts would replace all the pre-2007 school buses, Texas could reduce (NOx) by 7.5M pounds a year,” states Propane Council of Texas Executive Director, Bill Van Hoy.
School districts can replace a pre-2007 school bus with propane school bus and get between $36,500 -$52,500 dependent on the passenger capacity. Funding is first come, first serve with a limit of funding 5 school buses per district.
The Clean School Bus Grant guidelines and application can be found on the TCEQ website at www.terpgrants.org.
School districts interested to switch to propane school can contact the Propane Council of Texas for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (800)325-7427.
About the Propane Council of Texas The Propane Council of Texas is (ProCOT) is a 501 (c) 3 educational and marketing foundation. Our objective is consumer education, highlighting the benefits of home-grown propane and promoting clean-burning propane technologies like propane school buses.
Propane autogas creating greener schools & healthier budgets
School districts across the country and Texas are turning to cleaner-burning propane autogas school buses. 830 school districts and contractors in 47 states, including Texas have upgraded to greener propane school buses. There are over 14,000 propane-powered school buses on our nation’s roads transporting 850,000 students daily, 2,870 of the school buses are in Texas.
School districts are making the switch, because propane school buses have lower harmful emissions, which can increase breathing-related issues and worsen asthma in children exposed to higher emitting diesel buses.
By replacing older than model year pre-2007 diesel buses with new propane autogas school buses, a school district can slash NOx by 96%. Even with the new clean diesel buses, school bus operators can reduce NOx emissions by 75% by upgrading to the new Low NOx propane school bus.
If Texas school districts replaced the state’s 21,964 pre-2007 diesel buses with new propane autogas school buses, the state could reduce 7.5 million pounds of NOx emissions per year.
“Propane autogas is a smart choice for Texas schools,” said Bill Van Hoy, Executive Director for the Propane Council of Texas. “Not only does propane lower harmful emissions, but it reduces operating costs and has a proven safety record across the nation and in Texas.”
For many school districts across the state, running propane-powered school buses on cleaner-burning autogas is a great way to help build greener schools and healthier budgets.
About the Propane Council of Texas
The Propane Council of Texas is (ProCOT) is a 501 (c) 3 educational and marketing foundation. Our objective is consumer education, highlighting the benefits of home-grown propane and promoting clean-burning propane technologies like propane school buses.
At the start of this year, more than 12,000 propane
autogas school buses were in operation at public
and private school districts across the U.S., an annual
increase of about 10%, according to figures from the
Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).
Propane autogas buses now make up more than 45%
of all non-diesel school buses used for pupil transportation.
“First-time adopters of propane autogas school
buses are converting entire fleets after they see for
themselves the advantages propane can offer everyone
involved, from the transportation directors to the bus
drivers to the students riding the propane buses,” said
Michael Taylor, PERC director of autogas business
development. “We expect more districts to turn to
propane throughout 2017 and beyond as transportation
directors learn of the lower total cost of ownership,
cleaner and quieter operation, and better maintenance
experience that a propane autogas bus fleet can
offer a district.”
According to the data, compiled for PERC by
IHS Polk New Registration figures, propane autogas
school buses are being implemented on a national
scale. The buses transport more than 700,000 students
in 600 districts across 47 states. The data shows six
states—California, Florida, Oregon, Pennsylvania,
Texas, and Wisconsin—each have more than 500 propane
autogas buses in operation within their borders.
Texas, with 2600 buses in operation throughout
the state, operates more than 20% of all propane
autogas buses in the country. New York boasts the
highest number of districts operating on propane,
with more than 50 districts. Five other states—Illinois,
Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas—have more
than 30 districts apiece using propane autogas buses in
Reprinted with permission from Butane Propane News (BPN).
Event commemorates 10th anniversary of meeting to make propane autogas a viable fuel for school transportation departments in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas (Dec. 2, 2015) — A celebration commemorating a decade of propane school buses was held on December 1, 2015 at the Texas Education Agency in Austin to coincide with Texas Propane School Bus Week.
The event was sponsored by the Propane Council of Texas in conjunction with the Propane Education & Research Council and hosted by Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams. Remarks from Williams and state Rep. Tony Dale highlighted the event.
Citing the vital role propane autogas plays in powering thousands of school buses in school districts across the state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has proclaimed the week of Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 as Texas Propane School Bus Week.
The Texas House of Representatives, led by Dale, has issued a resolution celebrating the 10th anniversary of a group that met in Austin to discuss the concept and development of the first factory-built propane bus, expanding the choices for school districts interested in cleaner-burning bus options. Founders of the group were honored at today’s event.
“The state of Texas has accomplished a significant feat in the last 10 years in bringing clean and affordable fuel to so many school districts,” said Curtis Donaldson, president of CleanFuel USA and initial meeting attendee. “It’s a testament to the hard work of many people that, with a little ingenuity, we could bring a better alternative fuel option to school transportation throughout this state — and beyond.”
Since that first meeting in 2005, all three major school bus manufacturers now offer propane-autogas-powered buses. According to the Texas Railroad Commission, more than 2,600 propane-autogas-powered buses are currently in operation in school districts across the state.
More than 400 school districts throughout the United States are operating more than 7,000 propane autogas school buses on a daily basis. In all, more than half a million children ride propane autogas school buses to and from school.
“More and more school districts across the country are facing tighter transportation budgets and they must use their resources more wisely,” said Roy Willis, president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council. “Propane autogas school buses help districts lower their fuel budgets, but the benefits don’t stop there. Propane school buses improve passenger safety and reduce harmful emissions compared with their diesel bus counterparts, too.”
Many school districts report saving as much as one to two dollars per gallon with propane, and propane-autogas-powered buses require less maintenance over the lifetime of the vehicle, saving additional money on upkeep. These cost savings free up transportation budgets and give schools the option of reinvesting that money back into where it matters most: the classroom.
Propane autogas buses keep passengers safe by eliminating harmful carcinogens found in the exhaust from older diesel school buses. They’re also quieter than diesel buses, allowing drivers to hear better when picking up and dropping students off.
For more information on propane school buses, visit www.betterourbuses.com.
About PERC: The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is a nonprofit that provides leading propane safety and training programs and invests in the research and development of new propane-powered technologies. PERC is operated and funded by the propane industry. For more information, visit propane.com.
The Propane Council of Texas (ProCOT) is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 dedicated to educating the public and the propane industry on safety and on the newest clean-burning propane technologies. ProCOT is the state entity that represents the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), which was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA) of 1996. To find out more about propane autogas, visit www.fuelingtexas.com.