“Propane is cheaper, cleaner and domestically produced,” said Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, who took a test ride on one of Mobile County Public Schools' new propane buses. “This is an environmental initiative I can get behind.”
MOBILE, Ala. — Mobile County Public Schools (MCPSS), the state’s largest school district, acquired 30 alternative fuel school buses to support its community outreach campaign, “It Starts With Us.” The Blue Bird Propane Vision buses will lower operating costs while improving the environment, officials said.
Each bus will displace about 40,000 gallons of diesel and emit 150,000 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide over its lifetime, according to Blue Bird.
“We are pleased to be the very first school system in Alabama to enhance transportation through the use of propane buses,” said Martha Peek, Superintendent of Mobile County Public Schools. “We have taken this step because we understand the advantages are increased fuel efficiency, economic and environmental.”
Officials rolled out the new buses last week at the MCPSS transportation department.
Before choosing to fuel with propane autogas, the district’s transportation department performed a comprehensive evaluation. This process included safety research, cost savings analysis, site visits to school systems that operate buses with propane autogas, and phone interviews with transportation directors.
“The schoolchildren and taxpayers of Mobile benefit from this important decision,” said Dale Wendell, Blue Bird’s chief commercial officer. “The adoption of Blue Bird Propane Vision buses further emphasizes Mobile County Public Schools’ forward-thinking leadership and commitment to reduce fuel and maintenance costs, support a domestically-produced fuel, and provide cleaner air for the students and the community.”
From left to right: State Senator Rusty Glover; Blue Bird Chief Commercial Officer Dale Wendell; MCPSS Transportation Director Pat Mitchell; and Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey boarding one of the district's new propane autogas buses.
The school system transports 26,000 students to and from school daily. The new buses, equipped with ROUSH CleanTech autogas fuel systems, began operation for the 2014-15 school year on Aug. 7. Historically, autogas costs about 50% less than diesel per gallon and reduces maintenance costs due to its clean-operating properties, according to ROUSH CleanTech.
“Fueling with propane autogas provides the opportunity for quick return on investment, offering school districts a viable alternative solution,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech. “By choosing this safe, abundant and American-made fuel, Mobile County Public Schools is leading the state with its environmental commitment.”
During this initial implementation, the school system will monitor the efficiency of the buses and share information with other school systems interested in alternative fuels.
“The deployment of our propane autogas bus fleet is a perfect example of our school system’s initiative, ‘It Starts With Us’,” said Pat Mitchell, director of transportation for Mobile County Public Schools. “We are providing dependable and clean student transportation while saving taxpayers money so we can put it back in the classroom where it counts most.”