(Family Features)–Many school districts are moving away from diesel buses in favor of buses powered by an alternate fuel, like propane, which offers numerous benefits for school districts and their students.
In fact, school buses powered by propane transport approximately 928,000 students to and from school every day at more than 840 public and private school districts in 48 states, according to a vehicle registration report compiled by PERC using IHS Polk new vehicle registration data.
There’s a lot to like about propane school buses for community stakeholders and school officials, and school districts across the nation continue to take notice, says Michael Taylor, PERC director of autogas business development. Compared to other fuels, propane school buses are quieter and offer reduced emissions. Plus, they cost less for the district to operate, so schools can put more money back into the classroom where it helps students most.
Among the numerous safety advantages propane school buses provide, engines powered by propane are noticeably quieter than diesel engines, which can help ensure a safe ride. Plus, just like all buses, propane buses are crash tested to ensure they meet U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for side and rear impact. In addition, an automatic shut-off valve prevents the flow of fuel to the engine when it’s not running, even if the ignition is turned on.
The World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency have identified diesel engine exhaust as a carcinogen, which can cause short- and long-term health effects. With the emergence of alternative fuels like propane, which provides a clean emissions profile compared with diesel and gasoline buses, there is decreased risk of exposing young passengers to harmful particulate matter that can be found in the exhaust in older diesel buses, which can escalate breathing-related issues and aggravate asthma.
Financially, propane buses provide school districts with the lowest total cost-of-ownership compared to other fuel types, according to PERC. Even as gas prices continue to fluctuate across the country, propane consistently costs less per gallon than diesel and gasoline, by as much as 50 percent, which saves districts significant money on fuel costs. They also require less maintenance over the lifetime of the vehicle, saving additional money on upkeep. Savings on transportation can help keep more money in the classroom helping students learn.
Source: Propane Education & Research Council