Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) in Alabama has put 10 new propane autogas buses into service for the 2019-20 school year, with 30 more on the way. According to Blossman Gas Inc., which services propane autogas buses at more than a dozen school districts in the Southeast, MCPSS will have 172 propane autogas school buses in its fleet by the end of the school year.
Sixteen propane-fuelled school buses ordered by the Province of New Brunswick will be ready to move students on the first day of school, saving the province money, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a better ride for students and drivers. This is a first for Atlantic Canada.
School buses. You’ve heard them, you’ve smelled them, too, but it’s less likely that you’ve questioned how safe they are for your children. For years, schools have relied on diesel powered school buses that belch exhaust and ship kids to and from school. We’re starting to see a shift away from the antiquated diesel-powered buses.
We’re a little less than two weeks away from the start of the new school for many kids in our area. Buses will soon be hitting the road as kids head back to class. The Oshkosh Area School District, which contracts with Kobussen Buses, will once again be transporting kids in propane powered buses. A fleet of those propane powered buses are lined up and ready to go at Kobussen’s Oshkosh terminal.
Volkswagen Update: August 2019
As of August, states have announced over $150 million in Volkswagen Settlement awards. These funds have deployed nearly 1,900 vehicles and construction / installation of over 600 electric vehicle chargers. Transit buses have seen the largest amount of investment of $55 million, while school buses have had the largest number of deployments of 990 vehicles.
And guess what? Propane buses account for just under 500 of those 990 bus deployments. And, over 400 of those are Blue Bird Vision Propane buses! One specific example that shows how our effectiveness has increased is that the first round in Louisiana was 40 percent propane / 60 percent diesel. The second round took a huge turn with 70 percent propane / 30 percent diesel.
The Propane Education & Research Council’s new resource center offers in-depth information about propane school buses, including a state-by-state map with details regarding how to identify and apply for Volkswagen settlement funds. 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.
Remember, only $150 million of the $2.9 billion fund has been awarded. There is still a tremendous amount of opportunity out there. 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.
Our Gasoline Buses Go Unchallenged
In 2015, Blue Bird, Ford and ROUSH CleanTech partnered to produce a gasoline school bus using the Ford 6.8L V10 engine. One of the biggest selling points has been its low acquisition cost. But, when comparing our gasoline bus to IC Buses, we clearly have the advantage. Let’s take a look at the differences.
There are more than 20,000 ROUSH CleanTech-powered Blue Bird school buses on the road and almost 2 million Ford 6.8L engines in operation. We benefit from partnering with a major on-highway OEM and receive a host of benefits from that partnership.
On the flipside, there are approximately 3,000 PSI-powered IC buses on the road, and the engine platform has little exposure in other medium-duty platforms.
Parts, Service and Warranties
We have expansive parts availability from Ford, Blue Bird and aftermarket topped with a dedicated ROUSH CleanTech service department. We offer a full range of repair options through dealers, third parties and in-house. Plus, our buses are backed by Ford and ROUSH CleanTech with the best warranty available.
The PSI 8.8 has uncertain long-term parts support, as aftermarket is unlikely to pursue at low volume. And, their warranty is only through its internal network.
We offer Ford dealer-level diagnostic software and hardware made specifically for Ford diagnostics. The full system control is designed specifically for the Ford powertrain, including engine, transmission and fuel system. It is compatible with all Ford vehicles in a customer’s fleet.
Their diagnostic tool is PSI engine specific, leaving transmission out. And, it’s not compatible with other vehicles in a customer’s fleet.
We have a dedicated training department with multiple training avenues, such as web-based training, customer on-site training, and factory workshop training. Our learning management system includes technician tip videos and modular courses.
Our competition has shown little to no training resources for new users of their products.
If you have any questions about these comparisons, reach out to your ROUSH CleanTech sales representative.
School District Spotlight
School District: Kansas City Public Schools
Interviewee: Chris Walls
Title: Director of Transportation
Students returning to Kansas City Public Schools are riding in brand new propane autogas buses. The majority of the district’s school bus fleet now operates on this emission-reducing, economical fuel. The 155 Blue Bird school buses provide a quiet ride and low emissions that attracted the district.
Kansas City is a progressive, tech-focused city, and, according to Chris Walls, director of transportation for KCPS, the district is always looking to provide outstanding service for its students. In addition to reducing emissions, the propane school buses are much quieter. That means the driver can hear and communicate better with the students on board. Plus, the local neighborhood will no longer have to deal with the district’s former noisy diesel bus warm ups at 4 a.m.
Recent studies have shown that propane school buses are a proven way to reduce harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in American communities. The KCPS propane buses will reduce NOx emissions by over 55,000 pounds and particulate matter by almost 500 pounds each year compared with the diesel buses they replaced.
The district, which contracted with Student Transportation of America, pays 50 percent less per gallon for propane compared with diesel, for an expected savings of about $500,000 annually. It also anticipates another $55,000 savings each year in maintenance costs. Walls says that every dollar saved in transportation ends up back in the classroom.
The fuel system technology on these buses offers reliable performance in cold weather all the way down to negative 40 degrees. Operating propane buses provides peace of mind to the district because the fuel can handle extreme conditions without impacting the driver.
The district recently installed a propane station on school grounds that can fuel four buses at a time. And, as Walls says, “It was a simple decision for us to choose propane because everyone wins.”
University Study Backs Propane
It was exciting to see the news that a West Virginia University study found that propane school buses dramatically decrease harmful emissions. This study, commissioned by the Propane Education & Research Council, provides many compelling facts that you can use when speaking with customers about propane buses.
The study, performed with Blue Bird Vision Propane buses, concluded emissions measured from propane school buses are significantly lower than those from diesel buses. It concentrated on nitrogen oxides (NOx) — highly damaging emissions that are federally regulated due to their negative impact on human health and the environment.
According to the study, NOx emissions are:
- 34 times higher in a diesel school bus than in a propane bus, over a stop-and-go route.
- 15 to 19 times higher in the diesel school bus over a hot- and cold-start city route.
Bottom line: Propane autogas school buses reduce NOx by at least 95 percent.
As PERC’s Tucker Perkins says, this study is “monumental from an emissions and health perspective for students, schools, and communities across the country.”
Because exposure to NOx exhaust can trigger asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory issues, propane school buses are better for human health and the environment, and a better choice for schools. That’s great news for the more than 1 million students in over 900 school districts across the nation who ride to school in propane school buses each day.
Finding ways to significantly reduce harmful emissions has been driving us since we began developing propane buses. This data proves we are on the right track. If you have any questions about this study or other propane facts, contact your ROUSH CleanTech sales representative.
With back to school time happening across the country, it was exciting to read the recent headline, “West Virginia University Study Finds Propane School Buses Dramatically Decrease Harmful Emissions.” A study by university researchers concluded emissions measured from propane school buses are significantly lower than those from diesel buses.