North Carolina School Buses Get Greener
Propane-powered school buses have a lot to offer
To help make switching to greener, alternative fuels a more affordable option, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has allotted millions of dollars for school districts that want to replace old, air-polluting diesel buses with cleaner-burning options—including propane-powered vehicles that run out of propane autogas.
Additionally, The Clean School Bus Program–which was included in the recently passed federal 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law— provides funding to replace existing school buses with low- or zero-emission school buses. Read more here.
A study done by West Virginia University’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions showed 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. Studies have shown that, when compared with the old diesel buses they have replaced, buses with propane motors emit far fewer emissions.
Significant Savings for Schools
School districts across the country have already 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.
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!
And while there aren’t that many propane-powered school buses currently on the road in North Carolina, that number can be expected to grow by leaps and bounds, especially these days, when diesel fuel is more expensive than ever. See how North Carolina compares.
Safer and Quieter Rides for Our Kids
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.
Bottom line: now is the time for school districts and businesses to acquire affordable, low-emissions propane vehicles, especially since generous financial incentives are available and propane currently costs much less than diesel or gasoline.