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“Rather than question the emission reduction standards, one should consider the increasing number of students, drivers, technicians, teachers and administrators who are healthier today thanks to their transportation professionals’ decision to purchase propane autogas-fueled school buses over their conventional fueled counterparts.”
Today, in the U.S., more than 14,000 propane autogas school buses safely transport approximately 850,000 students to 800-plus school districts in 47 states. Those numbers are on the rise and have proven a strong trend in propane autogas as they continue to increase month over month.
Traditional thinking and complacency with conventional fuels are being replaced with more fact-based decision making when it comes to choosing alternative options for vehicles. School districts, private contractors, and company fleets are doing research and choosing to invest in state-of-the-art fuel, like propane autogas, which reduces operational costs and provides lifetime savings.
Propane autogas is providing sustainable solutions for fleets throughout the United States and is no longer a niche trend, but a legitimate fuel option. Additionally, the adoption rate for propane autogas has continued to grow, during the periodic absences of federal and state incentives, despite the lowest gasoline and diesel prices seen in well over a decade.
A February 2018 article in School Transportation News, entitled “Alternative Fuel vs. Diesel: Searching for the Truth in Cost and Benefit Data,” may lead readers to believe that the increased purchase of alternative fueled buses was a direct result of the emission reductions standards. On the contrary, the adoption of propane autogas began decades ago in the 1970s, well before these standards went into place. During this period, many highly-respected fleets elected to move away from conventional fuels to propane autogas. Among those fleets were Schwan’s Foods and Northside ISD in San Antonio, Texas.
Propane is a clean burning, domestic, sustainable, affordable, and abundant fuel. It is easily transitioned into any fleet, especially centrally-fueled school buses, and is providing substantial savings for their owners. These savings can be applied to necessary investments like purchasing more school buses, employing more teachers, enhancing facilities, and provisioning additional funds for other important resources in our school districts.
One of the objectives of the EPA Clean Air Standards Act is to dramatically reduce toxic vehicle tailpipe emissions. But, the environmental concerns do not stop at the tailpipe. Gasoline and diesel are toxic and will contaminate air, water, and soil resources. Diesel and gasoline fuel handling, storage, and spillage costs add up over the lifecycle of a vehicle. Unlike gasoline and diesel, propane is non-toxic and stands above the rest as a non-contaminant in its natural state, thereby eliminating these costs when propane buses are purchased.
Propane autogas infrastructure provides a similar but safer experience for operators during refueling. Quick connect K-15 nozzles lock securely during refueling, eliminating any possibility of spilling fuel and/or emitting virtually any emissions during the process. Fuel spills are eliminated with a closed loop pressurized fuel system and hazmat cleanup is never a concern.
Furthermore, drivers love propane autogas because they don’t wear the smell of gasoline or diesel while driving or exiting their vehicles. Propane autogas is the healthier, fiscal choice for cost-conscious fleets like school buses, in school districts, looking to benefit students, technicians and drivers.
See the article as it originally appeared in School Transportation News in May 2018.