DETROIT — Beginning this school year, many Detroit Public Schools (DPS) students will ride to and from school on 35 new Blue Bird Vision propane buses.

ABC Student Transportation, DPS’ transportation provider, chose buses fueled by propane because of the buses’ advanced technology, environmental benefits, and fuel and maintenance cost reductions, according to Charlie Grant, president of ABC Student Transportation.

This is the largest fleet of propane autogas school buses in the state of Michigan, ROUSH CleanTech officials said.

“The use of propane autogas school buses is a step in the right direction to significantly decrease vehicle emissions and improve the air quality for our students,” said James Minnick, executive director of DPS’ office of student transportation. “This also provides opportunities for students and the community to observe and learn firsthand about alternative transportation technologies. This environmentally friendly green initiative has also resulted in having a bus fleet that is 30% brand new.”

 “The adoption of propane autogas buses shows ABC Student Transportation’s commitment to implement buses powered by a fuel that is cleaner for Detroit’s students and the community, lowers operating costs, and is domestically produced,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird. “This is a great example of how the city of Detroit is being innovative in everything they do.”

The new buses are equipped with a Ford 6.8L V10 engine powered by ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel systems. Currently, ABC pays 74 cents per gallon for propane autogas, compared with around $3.00 per gallon for diesel, ROUSH officials said. In addition to fuel cost savings, the propane bus fleet will emit 12,445 fewer pounds of nitrogen oxide and 111 fewer pounds of particulate matter each year compared with the diesel buses they are replacing, according to the company.

To fuel the buses, ABC installed a station with a 12,000-gallon propane tank near its facility.

“Propane autogas powered school buses offer advanced fuel technology for school districts looking for more efficient operation while experiencing a positive return on investment,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech.

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