Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture – an annual event highlighting historic and unique aircrafts in Oshkosh, Wisconsin – will operate propane-powered buses to transport visitors. The buses, contracted from Kobussen Buses, also service the Oshkosh Area School District during the school year. About 25 percent of Kobussen Buses’ fleet is propane-powered.
08.14.19 — Propane autogas school buses are on the ground at Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture to transport thousands of visitors for this weeklong aviation celebration. While air shows filled the skies, the alternative-fuel buses, contracted from Kobussen Buses, Ltd., demonstrated the value of emissions-reducing school bus transportation.
For decades, schools have put their students on buses that belch diesel fumes, despite mounting evidence about the ill effects of the exhaust, especially on young, developing lungs. Now, as parents consider whether to sign up their children for the bus ride to school in a few weeks, new research is drawing a direct line between those fumes and poorer classroom performance. Even before Georgia State University released its report, lawmakers and school transportation directors felt something needed to change. There had been plenty of prior research linking diesel exhaust to allergies, asthma attacks and lung cancer.
Operating propane autogas vehicles for over 25 years, the Columbus Zoo introduced its newest fleet vehicle — a propane refuse truck. According to Tracy Murnane, director of purchasing, they are less expensive to maintain and have lower fuel costs. And he finds the infrastructure to be extremely inexpensive and convenient, using the same propane tanks needed around the zoo. Because the propane engines are clean-burning and reduce emissions, they help reduce the zoo’s carbon footprint while maintaining efficiency.
Customers Enjoy a Day at the Track
Dealers: Bryson Sales and Service, Bird Bus Sales, Cardinal Bus Sales, Girardin Ontario, Hoover Truck and Bus Centers, Brightbill Body Works and Yancey Bus Sales and Service
To show their customers appreciation, dealers from Bryson Sales and Service, Bird Bus Sales, Cardinal Bus Sales, Girardin Ontario, Hoover Truck and Bus Centers, Brightbill Body Works and Yancey Bus Sales and Service treated attendees to a day on the track. Customers representing 23 different school districts attended one of two days of events at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS), complete with a spin around the racetrack in a Roush Stage 3 Mustang.
“The partnership between us, Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech is one for the record books,” said Eric Arnold, Yancey Bus vice president and general manager. “It is through our combined efforts, from manufacture through sales and customer support, that we are able to make propane school bus adoption more prevalent in our state.”
The dealers invited all current propane and gasoline school bus customers to MIS for a customer appreciation day. The morning began with a meet and greet in the Roush Suite where, for the two days, more than 50 people from 23 different school districts attended. Together, these districts operate over 750 propane school buses and about 70 gasoline buses.
After receiving an overview, each day the guests were escorted trackside and given the opportunity ride around the track in a Roush Mustang. Professional drivers were on site to drive guests in official pace cars, too. Following the rides, the group enjoyed lunch and toured the garage.
“The track day appreciation event held by Roush CleanTech was an event that I really enjoyed,” said Buddy Gilliard, director of transportation for Coffee County Schools. “The staff at Roush CleanTech are top notch people and the day at Michigan Speedway driving the Mustang by Roush Performance was an experience that was just awesome!”
The dealers worked with Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech to make this day a success. If you have an idea for a customer appreciation event, contact your ROUSH CleanTech alt fuels sales rep.
Volkswagen Update: July 2019
Forty-eight states have published final mitigations plans with only Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Dakota left to publish theirs for public consumption. Of those with final plans approved, 27 states have opened and / or closed their first round of RFPs. This includes competitive funding programs (e.g., almost all states) and direct allocations (e.g., Georgia) and represents almost $100 million of opportunity across the country. Much of the funding announced to date includes smaller states with limited funding, so expect Fall 2019 to see considerable increases in both the number and amount of funding programs available.
For those who didn’t see the announcement last month, the Propane Education & Research Council has created a new resource center with in-depth information about propane school buses. It includes a curated state-by-state map with details regarding how to identify and apply for Volkswagen settlement funds.
With the resources provided in PERC’s Volkswagen Trust Resource Center, you can learn more about the benefits of propane autogas, how to accurately evaluate NOx reductions, and how to calculate the total cost savings for propane autogas.
The resource center also includes an interactive map where you can research your state mitigation plan, identify potential funding opportunities and learn how to apply for VW settlement funds. Many states have finalized their mitigation plans and are actively accepting funding applications for new school buses that could be powered by propane.
Because we still have some states with huge funding opportunities available in 2019, we need your help. Remember, the entire objective of the VW Environmental Mitigation Trust fund is to reduce harmful NOx emissions. Let’s work together to create a strategy that meets your state criteria. Our highest applicant success rate has been when we focused on NOx reductions, emissions cost-effectiveness, match funding and project location.
Please contact Chelsea Jenkins at Chelsea.Jenkins@roush.com to discuss how best to approach and plan for the next phase of Volkswagen settlement (and other funding) opportunities in your state.
Visit www.roushcleantech.com/volkswagen-settlement for more information.
Diesel and Gas Taxes on the Rise
One of the key selling points about propane school buses is the fuel itself. Right now, this domestically produced fuel is abundant and at a historically low price, while conventional fuel taxes are on the rise.
Propane autogas is a leading alternative fuel in the United States and the third most commonly used vehicle fuel, following gasoline and diesel. More than 90 percent of the United States propane autogas supply is produced domestically, with an additional 7 percent from Canada. Currently, the U.S. has a 10- to 20-year supply with 100 million barrels of storage.
Conventional fuel prices are going up, due in part to increasing gas and diesel taxes. In the past decade, nearly half of the United States has adopted some sort of new gas tax. And, just this month, 12 states increased diesel tax rates. Some are less than a penny, but others as much as 24 cents per gallon. Many folks will feel the increase immediately. Guess what? Propane is not included in these state tax hikes on transportation fuels.
Read more about fuel taxes to leverage this information to sell more propane buses:
And Our Q2 Winners are…
Randy Hicks of Ross Transportation for securing new propane customers. ($2,500)
And, we have a tie for repeat propane customers:
Wayne Vieira of Cardinal Bus Sales ($1,250)
Sarah Jones of Western Bus Sales ($1,250)
Congratulations to Randy, Wayne and Sarah! Contact your ROUSH CleanTech alt fuels sales rep to claim your prize.
About the Contest
For 2019, we have two new sales incentives that’s all about increasing propane bus sales. For each quarter, the Blue Bird dealer salesperson who books the most new propane customers and the dealer salesperson who brings in the most repeat propane customers will each be awarded $2,500! If there’s a tie among one of the two contests, the prize is split.
These two sales incentives aim to encourage and recognize individuals who are gaining traction in their market along with those individuals who have had tremendous success in their territories.
Contact your ROUSH CleanTech representative to learn more. Good luck selling propane buses.
Part of our independence comes from relying on domestic energy. We continue to beat the drum about the importance of energy security. We’re a country rich in oil, natural gas and propane. Using these domestic energy resources will help to better insulate us from the instability that plagues the globe today.