The first of 49 Blue Bird Propane Vision school buses arrives at Cleveland Metropolitan School District's depot.
CLEVELAND — Nearly 50 school buses fueled by propane autogas will go into operation for the 2014-15 school year in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
The district, which is Ohio’s second largest, will replace 12- to 13-year-old diesel buses with 49 Blue Bird Propane Vision buses.
As reasons for purchasing propane buses, district officials cited a short return on investment, ease of fueling, low infrastructure cost and lower electricity costs. The district estimates about $50,000 in electrical costs per year for powering block heaters to start its diesel buses in cold weather. Officials said that Propane Vision buses start up in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Blue Bird is committed to providing school districts with reliable, innovative and efficient green transportation solutions that are also favorable to a district’s bottom line,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “Like many districts, Cleveland schools did the research and realized that propane autogas is the best choice for reducing fuel and maintenance costs while providing cleaner air for the community.”
Ohio state inspector Chip Hilling examines one of Cleveland's new propane buses.
The school district, which fuels all of its buses at its bus depot, is adding an on-site autogas fueling station. Officials said that autogas infrastructure is less expensive to install than that of other conventional and alternative transportation fuels, and on average, autogas costs up to 50% less than diesel.
“Fueling buses with propane autogas offers the best total cost of ownership, giving school districts a viable alternative solution,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech, which provides the autogas fuel system for the Propane Vision. “By choosing this safe, abundant and American-made fuel, school districts around the nation are slashing their operating costs and lowering their carbon footprint.”
Cleveland Metropolitan School District purchased the Type C school buses from Ohio Blue Bird dealer Cardinal Bus Sales. Twenty of the buses are outfitted with wheelchair lifts.
The new buses are being delivered over the next two weeks.
In 2012, Clean Fuels Ohio recognized Cleveland Metropolitan School District as a “three-star green fleet” based on reductions in emissions and improved fuel efficiency.