TEMPE, Ariz. — Kyrene School District now runs 85% of its school bus fleet on propane.
Kyrene started using propane autogas in 2014 when it purchased 25 Blue Bird Vision Propane-Powered buses. This school year, the district added 73 more.
“With our Blue Bird propane autogas school bus fleet, our technicians don’t have to worry about the difficulties we encounter when servicing our diesel buses,” said Eric Nethercutt, director of transportation and facilities for Kyrene School District. “Working with propane is as easy as working on a gasoline engine.”
Kyrene’s 98 propane buses are equipped with Ford’s 6.8L V10 engine and powered by ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel systems. According to the suppliers, the Blue Bird propane buses will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 56,000 pounds per year and particulate matter by more than 1,400 pounds per year compared with the diesel buses that were replaced.
“We applaud Kyrene School District for being a leader in alternative-fuel use in Arizona, and we are delighted they are choosing Blue Bird’s class-leading propane-powered bus as their solution, as have hundreds of other school districts across the country,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird.
Nethercutt noted that the district’s school bus drivers also have a favorable view of the propane autogas buses.
“It’s a different driving experience because the bus is so quiet,” Nethercutt said. “This allows drivers to better interact and talk with students on the bus without competing with a diesel engine.”
Buses fueled by propane autogas reduce noise levels by about half, according to the suppliers.
“Kyrene’s transportation department, service department, drivers, and students are all seeing firsthand the benefits of lower fuel prices, easier maintenance, quieter performance, and cleaner air for the community,” said Brian Carney, group account director for ROUSH CleanTech.
Currently, Kyrene School District averages $1.15 per gallon for propane autogas compared with $1.50 per gallon for diesel. Also, the district will benefit from a federal tax rebate of 36 cents per gallon for propane.
Kyrene is working with its propane provider to install an onsite fuel station to further reduce the cost per gallon.