Alternative Fuels

Case study: District sees benefits from running propane buses

Posted on September 30, 2010

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has seen environmental benefits and safety advantages since running some of the buses in its fleet on propane. It anticipates that using the fuel will help to generate financial savings as well, according to a case study by the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC).

The study reports that LAUSD transports nearly 53,000 children to school every day and travels almost 15 million miles in an average school year. In an attempt to make operations cleaner and “greener” by reducing emissions, the district researched different options to meet the increasing air quality regulations in the state, and in December 2009, the district added 90 Blue Bird Propane-Powered Vision school buses to its fleet.

The district purchased the buses, which feature a General Motors 8.1L engine with CleanFuel USA’s liquid propane injection system, from A-Z Bus in Riverside, Calif., through a clean school bus grant from the Southern California Air Quality Management District. CleanFuel USA established the refueling infrastructure and Delta Liquid Energy supplies the propane fuel.

Specifically in heavy-duty applications like school buses, propane reduces smog-forming emissions by up to 80 percent when compared with diesel engines, PERC officials said.

Passenger safety also played a critical role in the district’s decision to add these buses to its fleet. Propane offers the lowest flammability range of all alternative motor fuels, the study reports. The tanks are 20 times more puncture-resistant than typical gasoline and diesel tanks.

In regard to potential cost savings for the district, the case study reports that propane fuel typically costs about 30 percent less than diesel while still providing similar fuel economy. Moreover, installing the propane refueling structure costs about one-third less than a diesel structure because of the above-ground tank installation.

To read the case study in full, click here.

Related Topics: alternative fuels, Blue Bird Corp., emissions, General Motors, propane

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories

VIDEO: Louisiana District Rolls Out Propane Buses

Public television program MotorWeek spotlights East Baton Rouge Parish Schools, which bought 10 propane school buses after flooding wiped out a portion of its fleet last year. Now, the district has ordered 30 more.


Heavy-Duty Alternators

Two new families of Leece-Neville heavy-duty alternators have been designed to improve school bus electrical performance: the IdlePro and IdlePro Extreme high-efficiency/high-output alternators.

An article about school districts’ successes with stop-arm cameras was the most-viewed feature on the SBF website this year.

Top 5 Most-Viewed Feature Articles of 2016

Feature articles that drew the most traffic on the School Bus Fleet website in 2016 covered stop-arm cameras, electric school buses, and student behavior management, among other topics.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!