AUSTIN, Texas — On Thursday, Michael Williams of the Texas Railroad Commission (TRC), the state’s chief energy agency, continued his mission to reduce pollution generated by school bus emissions and commend organizations and operations that have contributed to this mission.
In an address to the Texas Parent Teacher Association’s (PTA) board of directors, Williams praised the PTA’s recent awards of $95,654 to Leander Independent School District (ISD) and $110,889 to Silsbee ISD for buying propane-powered school buses.
The PTA’s Clean School Bus grants are funded by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under that agency’s Supplemental Environmental Project program.
“Propane helps schoolchildren and taxpayers breathe a little easier,” said Williams, who serves as commissioner of the TRC. “Leander and Silsbee ISDs reduced smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions by 13 tons by replacing their older diesel buses with propane.”
Williams also noted that the propane-powered buses reduce particulate matter emissions to “virtually zero,” and he touched on the economic benefits of using alternative fuels like propane and natural gas.
“Texas produces more propane and natural gas than any other state, so the more propane and natural gas we use in value-added markets like engine fuel, the more our state’s economy benefits,” he said.
Economic benefits apply at the local level as well, according to Williams. Based on miles traveled, fuel economy and fuel price numbers from a current propane school bus fleet, school districts can save about $3,000 per bus each year by using propane.
The TRC currently administers $15.7 million in federal grants through its Alternative Energy division. The grants help school districts and other public fleets buy propane-powered school buses, pickups, vans and fueling facilities.
For more information on the TRC’s grant program for school buses, visit www.propane.tx.gov. For more information on the Texas PTA’s Clean School Bus program, visit www.txpta.org.