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November 26, 2013  |   Comments (3)   |   Post a comment

Texas district cuts fuel costs by 33% with propane buses


SEGUIN, Texas — Seguin Independent School District (ISD) has been operating propane-powered school buses for six years, and officials estimate that this has saved the district 33% on fuel costs.

There are 85 buses in Seguin ISD’s fleet, including 28 propane-powered buses and 57 diesel buses. The district uses 71,950 gallons of propane annually and has installed one on-site fueling station.
Phia Rigney, Seguin ISD’s transportation director, said that the economic and environmental benefits of propane autogas caught the attention of the district six years ago.

“The biggest selling point was the fact that the fuel burns a lot cleaner than diesel, which means cleaner air for the students and community of Seguin,” Rigney said. “We plan to continue purchasing propane buses. The preventive maintenance saves money because propane buses use less oil and can go longer between oil changes.”
Seguin ISD is one of more than 75 Texas school districts operating buses on propane autogas.

“Currently, there are more than 2,000 propane-powered buses across the state,” said Jackie Mason, education and marketing director for the Propane Council of Texas. “We expect that number to continue to grow. Propane autogas is a clean, safe and reliable way for school districts to reduce emissions for their students and create healthier budgets.”
Many school districts are able to save money by participating in national and statewide incentive programs, officials said. Seguin ISD took part in both a Railroad Commission of Texas incentive program and the $.50 per gallon alternative fuel tax credit from the federal government. With the initial reimbursement for the purchase of propane buses and the rebate on fuel, Seguin ISD has saved $500,000 since 2008.
For more information about incentive programs, visit

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Read more about: alternative fuels, cutting costs, propane, Texas

Dan, I think your missing a few points. Propane is "slightly less pollutant than new diesels 2013. However Propane does it naturally. 2007-2013 emission diesels are loaded with components from the DEF tank to the tail pipe to get the emissions as low as they are. That has come at a cost and will continue to be costly through the life of the bus as these are components that will fail. Forgot to mention...propane has no turbo charger, no charge air cooler,no EGR valve and uses much less oil per oil change...the list goes on. Now lets talk fuel savings...Diesel has been anywhere from $3.50 a gallon to over $4.00 this year. I know districts who have purchased propane paying anywhere from a $1.12 to worst case $1.82 a gallon. The propane will get about 2 miles to the gallon less. But do the math the fuel savings is huge. Combine that with the maintanance savings and I'm not sure why you the way did you see me mention anything about subsidies? I didnt even mention .50 cent per gallon in the figures above. Take .50 cents off of that. Even without the .50 cents the Propane solution works without any Government help. Cant say that for Hybrid, Electric and CNG. Facts are a woonderful thing.

Tom Hartman    |    Dec 05, 2013 04:00 PM

Typical propaganda piece with all the usual buzz phrases. Their NEW propane powered busses may have lower emissions than their OLD diesels. But current propane fueled engines do not have lower emissions than current diesel. If they were to purchase new diesel buses they would see corresponding reduction in emissions. ALL engines of ALL fuel sources have to meet the same emissions standards of 2010 and those levels are so low that nobody's engine could have significant advantage over any other in actual emissions output. Actually, the new diesels would have lower output of carbon monoxide than the propane engines. The other three major emission products would be virtually the same. Also, the savings in purchase and fuel cost result in part, if not in total, from tax incentives (reduction). Who makes up for the taxes they save? We do. The guvment has to get money from somewhere (Oooops, that's China isn't it?) Remember this: any product that requires tax incentives to be economically competitive in the market place is fundamentally flawed.

Dan Herman    |    Nov 26, 2013 03:48 PM

It would be nice to see the data that they used to determine that kind of fuel savings. How can they be seeing a 33% fuel savings when only 32% of their total buses run on propane?

Joe Whitman    |    Nov 26, 2013 01:41 PM

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