SAN ANTONIO — Northside Independent School District received a $66,341.46 grant from Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Michael L. Williams, covering 80 percent of the propane option on each of the 16 new Blue Bird propane-powered Vision school buses that the district added to its fleet.
In a ceremony in July, Williams presented a check to Northside School Board President Katie Reed and Superintendent Dr. John Folks.
“These 16 buses will save money on fuel and reduce children’s exposure to air pollutants by using a cleaner, Texas-produced fuel,” Williams said. “I commend [Northside] for their dedication to this clean fuel.”
Northside was the first school district in the nation to purchase the propane-powered Vision. The district has been using propane since the early 1980s, and more than half of its 600-bus fleet is powered by propane.
The grant is part of the Railroad Commission’s Propane OEM School Bus Rebate Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program. The buses will be eligible for a federal 50-cent-per-gallon rebate on propane motor fuel, which can bring in about $1,500 per year per bus.
“The Blue Bird propane-powered bus is both an answer to going ‘green’ as well as saving fuel costs for the school districts,” said Ron Smith, Blue Bird’s director of marketing. “Those who have driven or ridden in the bus have praised its clean and quiet power and are even further amazed with the fuel cost savings.”
The propane-powered Vision is equipped with CleanFUEL USA’s certified Liquid Propane Injection System. It is the first propane school bus offered by a major manufacturer in the U.S. since 2002.
In 2006, Williams joined other clean-air proponents in securing $895,000 for the development and certification of the propane-powered Vision.