WASHINGTON, D.C. — The application period opened on Wednesday for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s latest rebate program for the purchase of new school buses.

As previously reported, this year’s National Clean Diesel Rebate program is offering about $3 million to help replace school buses that have diesel engines of model year 2006 or older.

The program aims to reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality for Americans, EPA officials said. The agency has implemented standards that require diesel engines to be more than 90% cleaner, but many older diesel school buses that predate these standards remain in operation.

"School buses are the safest and most environmentally friendly way to transport children to and from school," said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “The rebates to retrofit older bus engines will provide healthier rides for the 25 million children across the country who ride them on a daily basis.”

The EPA launched its first rebate program in 2012. The inaugural edition awarded $2 million for school bus replacements. Agency officials called the industry’s response to the program “overwhelming.”

Public and private school bus fleet owners are eligible to apply for this year’s rebate program, called the 2014 School Bus Replacement Funding Opportunity. Beyond the nationally available $3 million in rebate funding, an additional $700,000 is being offered in EPA Region 7 (Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska).

The EPA is accepting applications, which can be for up to five buses, from Oct. 15 to Nov. 17. For more information and to apply for the rebate program, go here.

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