Propane-Powered School Bus Fleets Lead Us Into The Future

school bus fleet fuel north carolina

Many states, including North Carolina, have been adopting alternative-energy incentive programs, resulting in more school districts purchasing propane autogas buses.

To help this movement further, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has allotted millions of dollars for school districts that wanted to replace old, air-polluting diesel buses with clean-burning propane-powered vehicles to transport children in our state.

School districts have gained enormous fuel savings by using propane autogas instead of more expensive diesel fuel. Kids are also benefitting from a healthier ride to and from school. Studies have shown that, when compared with the old diesel buses they have replaced, buses with propane motors emit far fewer emissions.

Emissions study proves the point

A study done by West Virginia University’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions revealed that propane autogas is a proven way to dramatically decrease emissions of toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx).*

So the more propane-powered school buses replace old, pollution-belching diesel-powered buses, the fewer NOx emissions our children will inhale.

According the U.S. Energy Department’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, approximately 55 percent of manmade NOX emissions come from motor vehicles like school buses, which are ubiquitous across the country.**

Schools see significant savings too

School districts have also gained enormous fuel savings by using propane autogas instead of more expensive diesel fuel. In terms of fuel and maintenance costs, schools can expect to save an average of $3,000 to $5,000 per bus.

The Propane Education and Research Council estimates that if all older, dirtier diesel school buses across the United States switched over to clean-burning propane-powered buses, the savings would be enough to cover the hiring of 23,000 teachers!

Safer, quieter rides too

Additionally, propane-powered school buses perform better in cold weather than diesel-powered buses. They start more easily and heat the interior faster so that windows are defrosted quickly. The alternative fuel engine in a propane vehicle also is quieter than a diesel engine but packs the same power.

Safely transporting students to and from school while navigating through all types of traffic, weather and terrain is a major—and sometimes daunting—task for school bus drivers. Naturally, this job requires focus, so the fact that propane autogas engines are 50% quieter than diesel engines not only makes for a more pleasant ride, but a safer one.

Additionally, buses fueled with propane autogas are crash-tested for impact in the side and rear, meeting rigorous motor vehicle safety standards.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about propane school bus fleets and propane-powered vehicles.

*Source: https://cdn.propane.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/WVU-School-Bus-Emissions-Final-Report-June-2019.pdf
**Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.