Propane School Buses are a Healthy and Budget-Friendly Clean Energy Option

What if you could get children to school, promote their health, and protect the planet while saving money? Would you do it? From Colorado to Georgia, school districts have said yes to using propane buses because they’ve done the math.

Propane has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a clean alternative fuel. Propane buses produce 13% fewer GHG emissions over gasoline or diesel buses. And the low carbon, clean nature of propane gives it the ability to fuel buses with dramatically reduced NOx emissions. Propane-powered school buses reduce tailpipe NOx emissions by 96% over clean diesel buses. The NOx reduction is critical because students’ exposures to emissions can aggravate asthma and cause other health issues

Improve Student Health and Performance

Dr. Daniel Kreisman, Assistant Professor of Economics, and his co-authors at Georgia State found that cleaner propane buses reduced exposure to the particulate matter in diesel exhaust, which means improved student respiratory health and better academic performance. The Georgia State study links school districts with retrofitted propane buses to the students’ aggregated health data and standardized-test scores. Based on the results, they estimate that reducing student emissions exposures for a school district’s entire fleet could lead to a 7.8% gain in English test scores.

School Bus Emissions

Propane Clean Diesel Electric
NOx Reduction 1,049 lbs/year 68 lbs/year 1,119 lbs/year
Cost per pound of NOx reduced $91 $1,330 $268
Carbon Intensity 83 101 83

Reduce Overall Operating Costs

A new propane bus costs a third of the price of new electric buses, allowing districts to purchase more vehicles within budget. A West Virginia University study found that it costs 30% – 50% less to operate propane buses per mile than diesel buses because of easy maintenance and better reliability. Healthier kids + healthier planet + saving money = the new math!

Propane School Bus Fleet Manager Data

District Buses Money Saved
Bibb County, Macon, GA
  • 73 Propane
  • 200 total
  • $3000/per oil change
  • $7,000/bus fuel additives
Boulder Valley, Boulder CO
  • 27 Propane
  • 266 total
  • $0.48 per mile propane vs $0.67 per mile diesel = $4,000/month savings
  • $8,000 additives per month
Cook County, Chicago IL
  • 250 Propane
  • 2200 total
  • 50% cost savings over buses per year (parts)
  • Premature engine failure: 0 Propane 40 diesels

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