Propane Autogas Eases Back-to-School Challenges
published on February 03, 2021 by Sonia Mastros
Of all the back-to-school challenges facing school districts in 2020, the problem of successfully busing students may be one of the most pressing. By law, every district must provide transportation for any student that needs it - but schools only have so many buses, and safe social distancing during an outbreak means those buses should only be 1/6 to 1/4 full. Otherwise, the students are so close that they could transmit the coronavirus simply by breathing at each other.
For some districts, the only viable solution is to obtain more buses - whether purchasing, leasing, or making other arrangements. This, of course, will significantly drive up costs. However, choosing buses that run on propane autogas might make it a little less expensive.
Why Propane Makes Sense When You Need To Reduce Fuel Costs
The biggest reason propane is gaining popularity among school transportation directors is that it's the least expensive bus fuel available, particularly if you have a reliable source of it nearby. It's difficult to give an exact comparison, given how much gasoline prices can fluctuate, but propane is typically 25-50% cheaper than gasoline or diesel per gallon.
Propane also has a much more stable price, which is good news for budgeting. On top of that, many bulk suppliers will work out contracts with their customers that hold the price of propane steady across an entire year, which makes budgeting even easier.
Another benefit to propane is that - for schools with room on campus - installing a private fueling facility is relatively easy. Propane suppliers can generally also lease the equipment needed for on-site refueling, which reduces the costs and expenses involved with keeping the buses topped up. For schools without room for a private fueling island, there are thousands of propane stations around the country - with more being added every month.
Plus, of course, there are benefits to the environment. Running on propane will keep the local atmosphere cleaner, and that helps everyone. Moreover, recent studies have suggested that students riding alternative fuel buses see academic benefits as well! It seems that the additional carbon monoxide and other pollutants produced by standard gas or diesel buses may actually inhibit brain function in students!
In short, propane solves a lot of back-to-school challenges for transportation administrators trying to find a cost-effective way to run more buses.
What about your district? How are you dealing with the problem of getting all your students onto school buses? Please share your tips in the comments!