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You Can Start the Conversation

School districts typically adopt propane school buses in the process of replacing older diesel buses. Chances are, your local district is planning to phase out their older diesel buses within a couple of years. You can play an important role in this decision by making your voice heard. Even if your district isn’t looking to change buses soon, your voice will make a difference when the time comes.

Here are the most important things you should know about propane buses before talking to your school district.

1. Schools of all sizes love them.

The proven performance and popularity of propane school buses is so widespread, it’s not hard to find a school telling their story about it. Northside Independent School District in Texas is saving $1.3 million a year on fuel alone.

2. They operate cleaner (and that’s a big deal).

Picture the height of a younger student compared to the height of a bus tailpipe. That student typically faces a cloud of diesel smoke, inhaling harmful diesel particulate matter. The particulate matter in diesel exhaust is an identified carcinogen (or, capable of causing cancer) that also aggravates asthma and other breathing issues. Propane does not emit this harmful exhaust. It also reduces harmful NOx — or nitrogen oxide emissions — by 96 percent, according to a study from West Virginia University.

In a study from Georgia State University, schools that use lower emissions buses, like propane, even earned higher English test scores, demonstrating that cleaner air may have an impact in the classroom.

3. When your district saves money, it helps students.

Modern diesel buses can drain a transportation department’s budget due to the extra components required to keep them operating cleanly, on top of higher fuel costs. Propane is a low-emissions fuel and doesn’t require schools to pay for these extra components. Historically, propane costs less at the pump than diesel, even as fuel prices fluctuate. With these savings, a school may be able to afford more teachers, school supplies, and funding for extracurricular activities. For example, in Nebraska, Omaha Public Schools reported they saved enough in one year to hire five new teachers.

4. They pass the test for all safety standards.

Propane buses have been trusted for their safety for decades — Northside ISD in San Antonio has operated on propane since 1975. Like conventionally fueled buses, they meet rigorous U.S. FMVSS and Canadian CMVSS motor vehicle safety standards. Propane is an approved fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act; it’s non-poisonous to humans and non-toxic to the environment. It poses no harm to groundwater, surface water, or soil.

How to talk to your district

Download the PDF for the top ten tips for bringing propane buses to your district, including some talking points to help you start the conversation.

Download PDF