According to the Propane Gas Association as of September 2019, over 500 Ohio school buses run on propane, and the number is growing. Propane fuel - known as Autogas - offers students a safe, clean ride while providing major savings to school districts.
“School districts throughout Ohio are having success with propane buses,” said Andrew Conley, Consulting Services Director at Clean Fuels Ohio. “Propane is a cleaning burning, domestic fuel source that offers operational savings to the districts running them – plus reductions of pollution for the kids riding them and for the communities they operate in.”
Clean Fuels Ohio has certified 10 Ohio School Districts as Ohio Green Fleets to date, with many of the additional districts running propane enrolled and on their way to earning certification. Propane is recognized by the EPA as a clean fuel producing nearly zero emissions, resulting in kids are not exposed to dangerous exhaust. It helps reduce asthma and other breathing related issues caused by diesel bus fumes and since propane engines produce minimal emissions, the fuel extends the life of the engine, saving on maintenance costs. Additionally, in the winter, the engines start immediately saving time for the drivers and the ability to run efficient school bus schedules.
Barnesville Schools run their bus fleet on propane for two reasons: safety and cost. “The first thing that comes to mind is safety of the kids. Propane buses are so quiet and that’s good for kids and the bus operators,” says John Blatter, Director of Transportation.
Tony Borton, Superintendent of Elmwood Local schools, shared similar experiences from their districts use of propane Autogas. “Propane buses are very quiet. The kids are no longer yelling at each other to be heard. They are also less expensive to operate. Additionally, school districts save on fuel costs. Propane fuel is on average $1-$2 less expensive than diesel. Districts can lock in a yearly propane fuel price and not succumb to the ever-changing price of diesel fuel. The significant savings allows districts to allocate more money toward other important budget items.
School districts have turned to rebates from the Ohio Propane Gas Association, grants from the Ohio VW Settlement funds and loans from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to make their fleet conversion even more cost effective. Clean Fuels Ohio has worked with numerous schools to assist with analysis, planning, grant-writing, and alternative fuel deployment. To learn more contact Clean Fuels Ohio Consulting Services Director, Andrew Conley, at Andrew@CleanFuelsOhio.org or call 614-884-7336 for more information.