FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — In what may be the biggest purchase of its kind, Broward County Public Schools has acquired 98 propane autogas school buses.
The move is being called the nation’s largest single order of propane autogas school buses by a school district. (The largest order by a contractor was Student Transportation Inc.’s acquisition of more than 400 propane buses for a new contract in Nebraska in 2012.)
Broward County Public Schools’ purchase ties in with its environmental stewardship program, dubbed “Learn Green. Live Green.”
“We’ll be using these buses for our high mileage routes due to the substantial cost and maintenance savings with clean and safe autogas,” said Pat Snell, Broward’s director of student transportation and fleet services. “Some of the savings will be funneled directly back into the classroom.”
Broward officials said that they expect a six-month return on investment for the additional purchase price of the alternative-fuel buses, which will travel about 17,000 miles per year. According to Snell, the district will lock in a propane fuel price at substantially less than what it pays for diesel.
The purchase qualifies Broward to apply for funding through a state rebate program. The Florida incentive waives state taxes for gaseous alternative fuels, which include propane autogas and natural gas.
Broward purchased the buses from Blue Bird dealer Florida Transportation Systems. The Blue Bird Propane-Powered Vision buses, each equipped with a ROUSH CleanTech fuel system, include a 100 gallon extended range tank that provides a 93 usable gallon capacity. Delivery will begin in May for operation for the 2014-15 school year.
“School districts are eager for cleaner, lower emissions solutions that also work with their budgets,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “The Blue Bird Propane-Powered Vision and Micro Bird meet these needs with lower fuel and maintenance costs, decreased noise and environmental benefits. We applaud Broward County Public Schools for their forward-thinking leadership in the state of Florida.”
Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech, added that Broward “is leading the state with its environmental commitment and paving the way for other districts to choose this proven, versatile and American-made fuel.”