Blue Bird propane-powered school buses.

Propane autogas school buses provide students with a safe, clean, and reliable ride to and from school.

Source: PERC

In the third round of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean School Bus Program funding, more than $6.7 million has been allocated for the purchase of propane autogas buses. Fifty-eight districts have been tentatively selected to receive a total of 269 propane autogas school buses to replace older diesel buses.

For each propane autogas bus purchased through the Clean School Bus program, the EPA will provide transportation directors with up to $30,000. The program prioritizes high-need local educational agencies, rural, and tribal school districts. Propane buses reduce nitrogen-oxide (NOx) emissions by 96% compared to diesel buses, have a range of 400 miles, and can operate even if the electric grid is down.

David Walters, director of autogas business development for the Propane Education & Research Council, stated: "School districts see the value propane autogas buses can bring to their students, to their community, and to the environment. With the lowest total cost-of-ownership, reduced emissions, and improved uptime, it's clear that propane autogas buses are an excellent choice."

Through three rounds of funding, the EPA program has allocated more than $2.8 billion for 8,427 electric school buses and 440 low-emissions propane buses. For the same amount of money distributed for electric buses ($2.77 billion), the program could have helped fund up to 92,635 propane buses, assuming each received the $30,000 incentive.

Replacing 92,635 diesel buses with propane buses would have reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 24,664 metric tons over three years. In comparison, replacing 8,427 diesel buses with electric buses would reduce emissions by 2,379 metric tons over the same period.

"The goal of the program is to reduce emissions as quickly as possible to provide our children with a safe, clean, healthy ride to school," Walters said. "According to the Department of Energy, there are more than 450,000 school buses in the United States, and the vast majority run on diesel. By replacing diesel buses with propane autogas buses, we can better ensure that more children are riding in cleaner school buses."

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