ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — Fort Zumwalt School District recently purchased eight Blue Bird Propane-Powered Vision school buses, and officials say the district is seeing cost savings as a result.
Jeff Orr, chief financial officer, said that the school district piloted the buses “in an effort to cut costs and reduce emissions.”
“Our experience has been very positive so far, as propane autogas is averaging $2.15 per gallon less than diesel fuel this fiscal year,” he added. “The district is saving around 18.9 cents per mile due to lower fuel costs and anticipates these eight propane-powered buses will save approximately $18,000 this school year. I have been told Fort Zumwalt is the first school district in the state of Missouri to add Blue Bird’s innovative Ford and ROUSH CleanTech powered propane buses to its fleet, and we are pleased to be the leader.”
Earlier this week, the school district won the Community Leadership in Environmental Awareness Now award, presented by the Missouri Propane Education & Research Council. The award recognizes organizations that replace conventional fuel consumption with cleaner burning, domestically produced propane.
The buses, in operation since last June, feature 60% less carbon monoxide, 12% less carbon dioxide, 20% less nitrogen oxide and up to 25% less greenhouse gases than gasoline-powered buses.
“The transition to propane autogas has been seamless,” said Jeff Schwepker, director of transportation for Fort Zumwalt School District. “Our local Blue Bird dealer, Central States Bus Sales, in addition to ROUSH CleanTech and Ferrellgas, provided ample training for our entire transportation team.”
Schwepker went on to say that the staff has “enjoyed the performance, quietness and savings benefits” that the propane buses provide, and that they are looking to add additional units to the fleet in the future.
“We are delighted that Fort Zumwalt School District is seeing the immediate savings and environmental benefits associated with our propane technology,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “These buses will ensure that students in O’Fallon and St. Peters benefit from cleaner air, while taxpayers can relish in the fuel and maintenance savings associated with propane autogas. With our partners at Central States Bus Sales and ROUSH CleanTech, Blue Bird will continue to provide comprehensive training and support to the transportation team at Fort Zumwalt.”
Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing at ROUSH CleanTech, said that Fort Zumwalt School District is a “shining example of how propane autogas can significantly lower the operating costs of school district fleets through the use of a cleaner burning, domestically produced fuel.”
“Whether we are talking about a single school bus or hundreds, fueling with propane autogas delivers lower operating costs, fewer emissions and helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” he added. “Every school district should look to follow Fort Zumwalt School District’s lead.”
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