District Summary

Boston Public Schools first transitioned 11 percent of its fleet to propane autogas in 2015. The 86 buses proved so advantageous through maintenance cost savings, quick cold starts, and an overall positive impact on schoolyards and students, that the district made the decision to purchase additional propane autogas buses and now operates more than 40 percent of its total fleet on the fuel. The school district has saved thousands in fuel costs since the transition. And because its total fleet represents approximately 10 percent of all greenhouse gas production in the city of Boston, each diesel bus replaced with propane has a real impact on the city’s overall goals to cut emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

Equipment Fleet Profile

  • More than 40 percent of its bus fleet operates on propane autogas.
  • 247 total propane autogas buses were in operation at the start of 2018.
  • The fleet includes 57 paratransit propane autogas school buses.
  • Because of space issues at its bus facility, the district’s propane retailer dispatches a refueling truck to refuel buses on site.

Boston Public Schools’ Propane Highlights

  • The district saves an estimated $600 to $1,000 in fuel costs per school day by using propane buses compared to diesel.
  • On average, maintenance on BPS’s propane buses takes only four hours, getting buses in and out for servicing in between the before- and after-school routes.
  • Maintenance cost savings were immediate because the propane buses require less oil and filters, and there are fewer components to check when servicing them.
  • The district has reduced the size of its cold start team during the winter because its propane buses start right away, in turn limiting the costs for anti-gelling fluids and heating blocks.
  • Schoolyards are cleaner and quieter for students, improving behavior and reducing risks for students with respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

They said it…

  • “The propane project was originated primarily in pursuit of cleaner air in and around our schools. The benefit was far more direct.” – Peter Crossan, Fleet and Compliance Manager, Boston Public Schools.
  • “The BPS bus fleet accounts for about 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and switching to propane has had a significant impact on reducing emissions from this huge source.” – Adam Jacobs, Energy Manager, City of Boston.
  • “I think the acquisition of propane buses is probably the most significant thing that has happened to any school bus operation.” – Peter Crossan.
  • “Although it has many financial advantages as well, it transformed the schoolyard in both tailpipe emissions and the level of sound.” – Peter Crossan.
  • “Our buses have accumulated 4.5 million miles of urban street surface, our school buses run an average of 8 hours a day. So having both thousands of hours and thousands of miles, we’re ready to purchase again.” – Peter Crossan.
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