- Why Autogas
- Press Room
This week, the Propane Council of Texas (ProCOT) attended the Texas Association of Pupil Transportation (TAPT) Expo & Conference at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX for a chance to connect with 750 school transportation officials and educate them on the growing popularity of propane-powered school buses.
Schools across the nation are turning to cleaner propane autogas to power their buses. 840 school districts in 48 states, including Texas have upgraded to greener propane school buses. There are over 15,000 propane-powered school buses on our nation’s roads transporting nearly 1 million students daily. Texas is leading the charge and has more propane school buses than any other state with 2,870 buses and growing.
What makes propane buses so popular? New low NOx propane school buses produce significantly fewer emissions than modern diesel buses and are up to 75 percent cleaner than the current emissions standard.
Plus, there is usually a high price tag with going green, but that isn’t necessarily the case with propane. With lower fuel costs, reduced maintenance expenses and the shrinking cost of propane school buses, school districts do not have much to worry about high investments to go green.
School districts operating propane school buses are saving up to 50% on fuel costs when compared to diesel. Propane does not just cost less at the pump for school districts, but propane school buses have significantly less maintenance than a new clean diesel school bus, which equates to fewer expenses to the district. Propane school buses make sense for budget savvy transportation departments who are looking to save their school district some money.
In addition to reduced fuel and maintenance expenses, the incremental cost of a new diesel school bus and new propane school bus is shrinking. To help school districts with the small upgrade cost, there are many alternative fuel grants available from a multitude of sources from the state and sometimes nationally.
“There is some funding out there for school districts in Texas. It can be tough for school districts to keep track of all the alternative fuel grants that may be available to them. That’s where the Propane Council of Texas comes in,” states Jackie Mason, education & marketing director for the Propane Council of Texas. “We are a non-profit. We are here to help districts whether it is providing general education on propane school buses or help to find funding for propane buses.”
To find out more about propane-powered school buses and to contact the Council, visit FuelingTexas.com.
About the Propane Council of Texas
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.59.ROUSH. To learn more, visit ROUSHcleantech.com.
Propane Council of Texas Touts Opportunities for Cleaner Air with the State’s Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program
Propane is eligible under the newly expanded grant program
This month, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced a grand round of $15.4M for their newly expanded Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program (TNGVGP). The grant program funds the replacement older diesel or gasoline medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles with CNG, LNG and now LPG (propane) vehicles operating in the Clean Transportation Zone, an 83 county area of Texas.
Propane was added to Texas Senate Bill 1731 in the 85th Legislative session since it is Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) and is too homegrown, found right here in Texas.
“The Propane Council of Texas is excited to educate fleets on this new opportunity to add clean-burning propane vehicles on Texas roads,” says Jackie Mason, Education & Marketing Director for the Council.
Propane is a great option for fleets, because it is economical, domestically-produced, widely available fuel, and contributes to cleaner air. The propane industry has engineered a multitude of platforms that are eligible for the program from medium-duty trucks to school buses that government and business fleets as well as school districts who can upgrade, too.
Funding under the Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program varies dependent on the model year of the vehicle, the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), and fuel type of the vehicle, the entity is replacing. Click here to download the guidelines.
For more information or to contact the Propane Council of Texas, email email@example.com
About the Propane Council of Texas
The Propane Council of Texas (ProCOT) is a 501 (c) 3 and the state arm of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). Our objective is consumer education, highlighting the benefits of home-grown propane and promoting clean-burning propane technologies.
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.
Donation acknowledges Humble Independent School District’s
commitment to student health and safety by operating propane school buses
HUMBLE, Texas (September 26, 2017) – The national nonprofit Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) surprised teachers at River Pines Elementary School today with a $5,000 donation in recognition of Humble Independent School District’s efforts to maintain good stewardship of its economic and environmental resources by adding propane buses to its school transportation fleet. The donation is part of PERC’s nationwide campaign to educate parents, teachers and school officials about the benefits of using an alternative fuel like propane.
“Propane school buses are the clean, quiet and safe alternative to older diesel buses, and Humble ISD is a great example of the success a school district can enjoy after transitioning to propane school buses,” said Tucker Perkins, PERC president and CEO. “Plus, propane buses cost less, so school districts can spend more of its operating budget on classroom programs.”
The $5,000 donation will awarded to River Pines Elementary teachers to help buy classroom materials through the nonprofit AdoptAClassroom.org’s online marketplace for teachers.
The school district first purchased 27 propane buses in 2011 with the help of a $2.9 million grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the Texas Railroad Commission and the Texas Parent Teacher Association. In the fall of 2016, $1.1 million of grant money, obtained from TCEQ and Houston Galveston Area Councils, increased the number of propane buses operated by the fleet to 47. About 20 percent of the district’s total school bus fleet is now powered by propane to help transport approximately 12,000 students to and from school daily. Propane school buses at Humble ISD have helped the district save on fuel costs. Propane is $0.80 per gallon compared to $1.80 for a gallon of diesel.
“Humble ISD seeks ways to be good stewards of environmental and economic resources,” J.P. Burd, director of transportation said. “Propane buses are clean and safe, and the cost of fuel is significantly less than diesel.”
The benefits of propane school buses, however, extend beyond the cost of the fuel. Propane school buses are safe because of their quiet and clean operation. Because they are quiet, students don’t have to shout over a noisy engine if they need assistance and drivers can more easily hear what is going on inside the bus, along with the area outside surrounding the bus. Propane school buses emit fewer greenhouse gases and carbon monoxide than older diesel buses, so the air at bus stops is better for students. The World Health Organization classifies diesel exhaust as a carcinogen, and the chemicals it contains can have both short- and long-term health effects on children and drivers, from aggravated asthma to respiratory illnesses.
The trend of propane school bus adoption is growing across the country. Schools in 750 districts across 47 states are operating more than 13,000 propane school buses, which transport nearly 790,000 students to school each day. The trend prompted PERC to launch its awareness campaign to teach communities about the benefits of propane-powered transportation, and partnered with the non-profit AdoptAClassroom.org. Now in its third year, the campaign has donated $75,000 to teachers at schools adopting propane buses.
Propane Education & Research Council: The Propane Education & Research Council is a nonprofit established, operated, and funded by the propane industry. PERC leads safety and training efforts and drives technology development to expand the adoption of propane as a clean, domestic, and affordable energy source. PERC programs benefit a variety of markets including transportation, agriculture, landscaping, residential, and commercial. For more information about propane-powered technologies, equipment incentives, and PERC, visit propanecouncil.org.
AdoptAClassroom.org empowers teachers by providing the classroom supplies and materials needed to help their students learn and succeed. As an award-winning 501(c)(3), AdoptAClassroom.org makes it easy for individual donors and corporate sponsors to donate funds to K-12 classrooms in public, private and charter schools throughout the U.S. On average, teachers spend $600 of their own money each year to equip their classrooms – 20% of teachers spend more than $1,000 annually. Since 1998 AdoptAClassroom.org has raised more than $30million and benefited more than 4.25 million students. AdoptAClassroom.org holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. For more information, or to adopt a classroom, please visit www.adoptaclassroom.org.
The Propane Education & Research Council is awarding $100 per tank-side connector and $1000 per hose-end connector through its Quick Connect Nozzle Rebate Program.
Using the quick connect nozzle has its advantages.
- Similar to refueling with gasoline and diesel
- May be operated with one hand
- Does not require the refueler to wear protective eyewear or gloves
- Are unable to be cross-threaded
- Release less emissions per connection
Click here to learn more or apply for the incentive.
The Propane Council of Texas (ProCOT) is proud to represent our national Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) at the Earth Day Texas and National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey, in which PERC is a major sponsor. Odyssey Day is the largest, nationwide event dedicated to promoting the use of and educating people about alternative fuel vehicles and Earth Day Texas is the world’s largest Earth Day celebration.
The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), Earth Day Texas, and the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities, a U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities coalition joined forces to bring the two events together for one long weekend at Fair Park in Dallas to bring awareness to alternative fuel vehicles and clear air initiatives.
The event kicks off this Thursday, April 19 with National Odyssey Day and an Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Summit. Friday, April 21, 2017 – Sunday, April 23, 2017 marks the Earth Texas Day event where over 150,000 people from the DFW metroplex are expected. Several cleaner-burning propane-powered vehicles (including a school bus, delivery vehicle, pick-up trucks, and SUV) will be featured in the AFV Pavilion located right next to Cotton Bowl Plaza.
“The event will give us a chance to show the public that propane goes beyond the grill,” said Jackie Mason, Education & Marketing Director for the Propane Council of Texas, “That propane autogas is a lower-emitting option in school transportation and for fleets in their communities.”
Propane autogas has been a proven motor fuel since 1913 and is the most commonly used alternative fuel in the world. There are 25 million propane vehicles worldwide, over 200,000 in United States, and nearly 7,000 in Texas. The Lone Star State also hosts 2,600 cleaner-burning propane school buses. In the U.S., there are over 12,500 propane school buses operated by over 700 school districts transporting over ½ a million students each school day.
About Propane Education & Research Council (PERC)
The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is a check-off program established, operated, and funded by the propane industry. PERC implements safety and training programs, conducts research, and invests in technology development with leading equipment manufacturers to expand adoption of propane as a clean, American-made energy source.
About the Propane Council of Texas
The Propane Council of Texas is (ProCOT) is a 501 (c) 3 and the state arm of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). Our objective is consumer education, highlighting the benefits of home-grown propane and promoting clean-burning propane technologies.
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).