FORT VALLEY, Ga. — The Blue Bird Vision Gasoline school bus recently received full certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB).
The gasoline-powered Type C school bus, which uses a Ford 6.8L V10 engine, is now certified to the federal standard of 0.20 g/bhp-hr for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
“During certification testing, our gasoline buses achieved an emission output of 0.08 g/bhp-hr NOx, which is significantly lower than the federal standard of 0.2 g/bhp-hr,” said Trey Jenkins, vice president of customer service and alternative fuels for Blue Bird Corp. “Customers are experiencing immediate savings due to the lower upfront cost of the vehicle and long-term savings due to the lower cost of maintenance.”
Blue Bird reported that more than 100 operations have purchased the Blue Bird Vision Gasoline bus since it became available last year.
“When it comes to cold-weather startup, these buses perform wonderfully,” said John Benish, CEO of Cook-Illinois Corp., one of Blue Bird’s first gasoline bus customers. “We aren’t required to use heaters to get them going in the morning. This translates to additional savings for us and for the school districts we service.”
According to Blue Bird, fuel costs are also a savings factor for the gasoline buses, because school districts can obtain contracts to avoid many taxes and fees that are added to gasoline fuel.
Georgia’s Cobb County School District, another early adopter, chose the gasoline buses because compressed natural gas and propane infrastructure would have been more difficult to implement, since many of the district’s buses park away from the district’s central fueling and shop locations.
“We also saw long-term savings in terms of our total cost of ownership as well as a larger pool of qualified mechanics,” said Rick Grisham, executive director of transportation for Cobb County School District. “Our initial numbers are showing a great amount of savings on both fuel and maintenance costs. It’s truly been a win-win for us.”
The EPA and CARB certifications were delayed on many products, including the Blue Bird Vision Gasoline bus, due to the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal.
“Now that these certifications have been received, districts around the nation can start looking to gasoline as an alternative option to diesel,” said Brian Carney, executive director of school bus and customer support at Roush CleanTech, the manufacturer of the fuel system. “There are many instances where gasoline is a great choice for fleets, so we recommend every district take a look and determine what fuel type will work best for their needs.”