Atlanta-Area School Districts to Benefit From Propane Bus Grant
published on September 20, 2019 by Sonia Mastros
The push to move school bus fleets away from traditional gasoline and diesel is stronger than ever, and it's being championed by many major groups - including the Environmental Protection Agency. As part of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), the EPA makes millions of dollars available to school districts which need assistance in moving away from diesel, and towards more ecologically-friendly alternatives.
One of the big winners recently was Fulton County, Georgia, which includes roughly 90% of the Atlanta metro area. They submitted a grant request, detailing a $7.85 million dollar plan to replace nearly 300 diesel buses by 2022 - and in response, they received $1.9 million in government funding to help.
This is a big win for alternative fuels in school bus fleets and a big win for the environment.
Looking at Atlanta's Big Push for a Propane-Based School Bus Fleet
As part of a major metropolitan area, the Fulton County School System has a huge fleet of buses - more than 250. Previously, nearly all of these ran on diesel, consuming roughly 1.6 million gallons annually, making them significant contributors to pollution in the area. By switching over to propane, it's estimated that they will be preventing more than 22 tons of nitrous oxides from entering the atmosphere, along with reducing other pollutants as well. The district is also implementing other measures to reduce pollution, such as new driver regulations intended to reduce idling.
This is part of an ongoing project which began in 2017 with the purchase of 70 propane buses. The initial rollout was such a success that the district was eager to expand their changeover to propane, leading to them submitting a grant proposal to the EPA.
Ultimately, the district will be paying approximately 75% of the $7.85 million dollar price tag, with government grants making up the remainder. That's a lot of money but, thanks to the EPA, they're saving nearly two million on the changeover! That allows them to switch to propane more quickly, speeding up the environmental benefits.
Is Your District Looking to Move Away From Diesel?
The EPA's grant program is ongoing, and they are still accepting applications for grants earmarked for the 2019-20 school year. Even if you miss this year's deadline, the program is likely to continue for years to come, bringing further opportunities to lower the costs of major school bus fleet upgrades.
Has your district applied for these grants? How did the application process go for you? Let us know in the comments below!