Debunking Misleading Claims About Propane School Buses

A recent Vox article by Rebecca Leber titled, “The Propane Industry’s Weird Obsession with School Buses Explained” has sparked debates over the propane sector’s role in school bus transportation. While critics claim that propane-powered buses are no different than diesel buses, the propane industry opposes electrification, and that propane-powered buses offer no substantial air quality… Continue reading Debunking Misleading Claims About Propane School Buses

A recent Vox article by Rebecca Leber titled, “The Propane Industry’s Weird Obsession with School Buses Explained” has sparked debates over the propane sector’s role in school bus transportation. While critics claim that propane-powered buses are no different than diesel buses, the propane industry opposes electrification, and that propane-powered buses offer no substantial air quality benefits, proponents argue that these accusations are based on misleading claims.

The inaccurate comparison between propane and diesel buses has caused much confusion. According to the US Department of Energy’s National Lab, while propane buses may not significantly outperform post-2010 diesel buses in emissions, they offer substantial reductions in air pollutant emissions when replacing older diesel buses, especially since over a third of the nearly half a million diesel school buses on US roads are outdated, pre-2010 models. Alternative fuels like propane are key players in pursuing cost-effective solutions to replace these aging buses with low- or zero-emission options.

Regarding emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledges that propane buses produce lower levels of certain pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx). Modern propane bus engines adhere to strict NOx limits, ensuring reduced emissions compared to diesel. Leber also omitted that propane engines nearly eliminate particulate matter emissions, the health hazards that initially drove the replacement of older diesel buses.

Claims that the propane industry excessively targeted school transportation decision-makers are disputed. Additionally, allegations of being “anti-electrification” don’t align with the propane industry’s support for electrification, namely propane-powered electric vehicle charging.

In reality, the propane sector focuses on cost-effective emissions reductions through innovative technologies, such as ultra-low-carbon renewable propane and low NOx engines, to minimize the environmental impact. Rather than a peculiar obsession, this drive aims to deliver practical solutions for children and communities.

Propane and electric buses both have their merits in the quest for cleaner school transportation. Debating their worth should be rooted in accurate information rather than misleading narratives.

Propane School Buses: A Clean, Affordable, and Reliable Alternative

With the back-to-school season recently behind us, our minds can easily recall images of fresh school supplies, brand new shoes, and the iconic yellow school bus. However, this wholesome scene can quickly turn sour when a cloud of toxic black exhaust billows from your child’s school bus as it departs from the bus stop. The… Continue reading Propane School Buses: A Clean, Affordable, and Reliable Alternative

With the back-to-school season recently behind us, our minds can easily recall images of fresh school supplies, brand new shoes, and the iconic yellow school bus. However, this wholesome scene can quickly turn sour when a cloud of toxic black exhaust billows from your child’s school bus as it departs from the bus stop.

The culprit behind this unpleasant sight? Diesel buses. But here’s the good news: there are environmentally friendly alternatives that eliminate the black cloud, ensuring that children arrive at school in a clean and happy environment, ready to learn. Enter propane school buses.

Propane Buses: A Smart Choice for Schools

For transportation directors, propane school buses offer immediate solutions to operational needs while staying within budget. They are scalable, cost-effective, and readily available, making propane autogas a game-changer for school transportation budgets.

1. Lowest Total Cost of Ownership

School districts can expect propane bus fuel costs to be up to 50 percent lower than diesel. Additionally, propane autogas buses require less maintenance, eliminating the need for costly filters and fluids for new diesel buses.

2. Lower Acquisition Cost

Compared to new electric buses, new propane buses are a third of the price, enabling districts to acquire more vehicles while staying within budget.

3. Lower Infrastructure Costs

Propane autogas refueling stations, which can be public, private, or temporary, are far more cost-effective than installing a new electric charging station connected to the grid.

4. Cleaner Performance

Modern propane engines exceed EPA standards by 90 percent in terms of cleanliness. This helps school districts meet sustainability goals and ensures healthier passengers and safer communities.

5. Proven Technology

Propane autogas is the most widely used alternative fuel for school buses, offering reliable performance without constant recharging or concerns about range restrictions.

6. Available Incentives

Beyond EPA Clean School Bus funding, many states provide incentives to assist fleets in lowering upfront costs when purchasing propane autogas buses.

School districts nationwide have leveraged these fleet savings and operational efficiencies to afford more teachers, classroom supplies, and extracurricular activities. It’s no surprise that fleet managers and transportation directors are making this very practical choice and switching to propane.

Propane School Bus Success Stories at STN EXPO Panel

During a panel discussion at the STN EXPO, three school districts at various stages of adopting propane school buses joined forces to share their experiences. The session, supported by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), focused on our shared commitment to zero-emission transportation. For successful alternative fuel adoption, Steven Whaley, director of autogas business… Continue reading Propane School Bus Success Stories at STN EXPO Panel

During a panel discussion at the STN EXPO, three school districts at various stages of adopting propane school buses joined forces to share their experiences. The session, supported by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), focused on our shared commitment to zero-emission transportation.

For successful alternative fuel adoption, Steven Whaley, director of autogas business development for PERC, emphasized four characteristics: cleanliness, affordability, performance equivalence, and abundant supply. He went on to discuss the benefits of propane, a fuel that is domestically produced, clean, affordable, safe, and superior to diesel in terms of emissions control.

In support of the advantages for the environment, University of West Virginia researchers discovered that propane buses are 96% cleaner than clean diesel buses. An ongoing theme at the Green Bus Summit emphasized considering infrastructure before switching to propane-powered buses. Attendees can easily install and run propane infrastructure, according to Whaley. Additionally, PERC partners provide portable propane fueling stations that run on wind and solar energy and support off-grid and electric charging applications.

Full Fleet Conversion

At first, Kay Cornelius, director of transportation for Minnesota’s rural St. Louis County Schools, had misgivings about propane. But after doing much research, she decided to test a propane bus in 2016. As she gradually switched the entire fleet to propane, Cornelius did so because she was aware of the lower total cost of ownership. She urged people to learn more about propane and its workings while using networking opportunities to bargain a good deal with propane suppliers.

Partial Adoption

In Illinois’ Township High School District 211, Diana Mikelski, director of transportation, disclosed that 61 of the 164 buses in her fleet are propane-powered. When she first began the transition, Mikelski encountered difficulties and resistance from mechanics. However, with significant assistance from producers like Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech, she integrated propane buses successfully. Mikulski emphasized the simplicity of refueling propane buses and the considerable fuel and upkeep cost savings. The smooth operation of propane buses, even in cold weather, has also been praised by drivers. The neighborhood has also noticed better student health and cleaner air.

Beginning the Journey

Electric and CNG options were disqualified for the district, according to Michael McCusker, a senior financial analyst for the Department of Transportation Services of the School District of Philadelphia. Instead, according to their plans,10% of the fleet will switch to propane. Throughout the transition process, McCusker emphasized the significance of ongoing learning and decision-making. The district is confident that propane buses can efficiently negotiate the city’s winding streets and hills, meeting their transportation needs.

EPA Announces $400 Million Grants for Clean School Bus Program

The 2023 Clean School Bus Program, which will distribute about $400 million in grants, has been announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The program accepts applications from state and local governments nationwide that provide bus services to replace current school buses with clean, zero-emission substitutes. The funding will go toward integrating electric, propane,… Continue reading EPA Announces $400 Million Grants for Clean School Bus Program

The 2023 Clean School Bus Program, which will distribute about $400 million in grants, has been announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The program accepts applications from state and local governments nationwide that provide bus services to replace current school buses with clean, zero-emission substitutes.

The funding will go toward integrating electric, propane, or compressed natural gas (CNG) buses for internal combustion buses. Aside from that, money can be used to buy the infrastructure and installations needed to supply electric vehicles.

School transportation directors can use propane’s reliable and clean attributes by using propane-powered recharging infrastructure or propane-autogas school buses, claims the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). The EPA will give transportation directors up to $35,000 through the program for each propane autogas bus bought.

The EPA requested applications for rebates totaling $1 billion in the previous year for zero-emission and low-emission school buses. 95% of the more than 2,500 buses funded by the program were electric. PERC emphasizes the significance of considering various energy sources to provide students with safe, clean, and healthy transportation.

According to Steve Whaley, the director of autogas business development at PERC, the propane industry addresses this issue by providing propane-powered recharging systems as a cost-effective and dependable infrastructure solution.

By August 22, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, interested candidates for the Clean School Bus Program must submit their electronic applications via grants.gov.