SANFORD, Maine — Thirty-one Blue Bird Propane Vision buses are transporting students for the 2014-15 school year in the Sanford School Department.

Each bus is equipped with a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system.

Officials said the district made the choice to switch to propane autogas because of a short return on investment, ease of fueling, low infrastructure cost and reduced emissions compared to diesel fuel.

“As school budgets and funding for our district gets tighter every year, we are always committed to finding cost savings,” said Sanford Schools Superintendent David Theoharides. “In conjunction with our transportation provider, Ledgemere/Student Transportation of America, we found that propane buses would not only save the district money, but also reduce the environmental impact of using diesel. The propane buses will save nearly 25% on fuel costs in year one, reduce the amount of carbon dioxide by 12% and be as safe if not safer than the buses they replace.”

Ledgemere Transportation has invested in 4,000 gallons of propane autogas storage and high-speed pumps to allow drivers to quickly and safely refuel their vehicles. Ledgemere Transportation also has significant electrical costs for powering block heaters to start their diesel buses in cold weather. Blue Bird Propane Vision buses start up in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

“We understand the financial challenges that our customers face,” said Greg Stinson, vice president of operations for Student Transportation of America. “Diesel fuel costs are significant in addition to the operational and maintenance costs of the old buses. Propane autogas allows us to provide a highly reliable and lower-cost solution to school districts. We also like the ability to offer savings that come with the environmental benefits of propane.”

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