Propane-Powered School Buses Lower the Cost of Student Transportation
published on June 06, 2017 by Sonia Mastros
School districts across North America are switching to alternative fuel sources for their bus fleets, and for good reason. Propane helps to reduce the costs of school bus transportation while also helping to reduce emissions.
How Propane Saves Money
Though switching to propane does require an initial investment, the long-term cost benefits are clear. A new full-size propane fueled school bus typically costs about $3000 to $4000 more than a diesel-powered bus of similar size. This cost is quickly recouped, when the reduction in fuel cost is considered.
While diesel often costs more than $3.00 a gallon, the same amount of propane can cost less than a dollar and in some areas, the cost is lower than 50 cents. Even though propane gets about 10% fewer miles per gallon, the difference, over time, can quickly add up. Additionally, many school districts benefit from tax rebates due to the switch. Fueling stations are becoming more plentiful, and some districts are installing their own propane fueling stations for convenience and to keep costs even lower.
Propane also reduces maintenance costs for school districts. Keeping up with local emissions requirements takes away from the time and resources of district mechanics, and propane helps to solve this problem.
Some worry that propane buses cannot be used for school field trips or out-of-town athletic events because of the lack of refueling stations. With a little bit of planning in advance, though, many districts are finding ways to make it work.
The U.S. Department of Energy provides data on the location of propane fueling stations. Districts who have implemented school bus routing software can plan routes that allow buses the ability to refuel.
Additional Propane Benefits
Propane has some serious environmental benefits. It produces fewer emissions than diesel fuel, and that leads to less pollution. Propane fueled buses also poses no threat to soil, groundwater or surface water.
The reduction in air pollution is also beneficial for children who are dealing with asthma or other respiratory concerns. In fact, reduced air pollution is a benefit for all students.
To learn more about school bus transportation options that can save your district money, contact our team.
Has your school district switched some or all of your buses to propane? Why did you make the change? How did this impact your transportation department’s bottom line and fuel efficiency? We’d love to hear your feedback.