The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded $10.5 million to replace 473 older diesel school buses.
The funds are being distributed to 137 school bus fleets in 40 states, each of which will receive rebates through the EPA's Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding, according to a news release from the agency.
"The rebates provide children with a safe and healthy way to get to school by upgrading older diesel engines in our nation’s school buses," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "Through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, the EPA is equipping local school districts with cleaner-running buses, helping them along the route to healthier kids and communities."
As School Bus Fleet previously reported in November 2020, Jason Wilcox, a representative from the EPA’s Legacy Fleet Incentives and Assessment Center, announced during a virtual workshop held by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) that this was the first year the agency would base each rebate amount on fuel type rather than bus size as in previous years. During the workshop, he also announced changes to the application’s school bus usage requirements and a $300,000 cap on rebate amounts.
This year, a total of five school bus fleets are reportedly planning to replace 16 aging diesel buses with electric buses, according to the EPA. Applicants scrapping and replacing diesel buses with engine model years 2006 and older will receive rebates between $20,000 and $65,000 per bus, depending on the fuel type of the replacement bus.
Since 2008, the DERA program has funded more than 1,300 projects across the country, reducing diesel emissions in more than 70,000 engines.
A list of the 2020 DERA school bus rebate recipients can be found here.