Alternative Fuels

Propane Type A buses delivered to Oregon district

Posted on November 4, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Public Schools began running its first propane-powered Type A school buses in October. The five buses were manufactured by Collins Bus Corp. and delivered to the district by the manufacturer’s Oregon-based distributor, Western Bus Sales. 

“Portland Public Schools started using propane buses in 1983 because of concerns about increasing conventional fuel prices and stricter air quality regulations,” said Portland Interim Director of Student Transportation Andy Leibenguth. “Today, virtually all of our 325-plus district-owned and contracted buses run on propane. Up to now, our small buses were not available directly from a manufacturer — they had to be converted to propane by local vendors after purchase. We are thrilled that Collins and Western Bus Sales now offer Type A school buses with dedicated propane engines.”

The Collins’ NexBus propane-powered Type A unit is built on a dual rear-wheel General Motors chassis. It exhibits excellent cold-weather starting, has a range of 300 miles and is available in capacities of up to 32 passengers, according to the company. The buses delivered to Portland Public Schools are 18-passenger models.

“We applaud Portland Public Schools for being among the first in the country to recognize the operational and environmental benefits of propane-fueled vehicles. They continue to set a powerful example for students and the community with their smart, responsible transportation choices,” said Kent Tyler, president of Collins Bus Corp. “Collins Bus is committed to providing our customers with cost-effective, alternative-fuel solutions straight from the factory where safety, reliability and quality are built in from the ground up. With partners like Western Bus Sales, Collins is uniquely positioned to serve the alternative-fuel needs of environmentally-conscious school districts, contractors and government customers throughout North America.”

The advantages of liquid propane-fueled buses have been well documented by Portland Public Schools and other school districts across the country. Some of the benefits are: 

• The average fuel cost can be up to 50 percent less than gasoline or diesel.

• Vehicles fueled by propane require less maintenance and last almost twice as long as those powered by conventional fuel.

• Propane burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel, with up to 20 percent less nitrogen oxide, up to 60 percent less carbon monoxide, 24 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and fewer particulate emissions than gasoline.

• Propane meets all federal safety standards and propane tanks are 20 times as puncture resistant as gasoline tanks.

• Propane is readily available. In addition to existing private fleet fueling arrangements, there are hundreds of public refueling stations for propane in Portland.

In addition to propane-powered buses, Collins Bus Corp. also produces the NexBus hybrid, which runs on hybrid-electric technology. For more information about Collins’ alternative-fuel transportation solutions, visit

Related Topics: alternative fuels, Collins Bus Corp., General Motors, hybrid bus, Oregon, propane, Type A/small buses

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