At last count, there are now more than 15,000 propane-powered buses in the country transporting 928,000 children to school each day, and that number keeps increasing. New York remains among the top 10 states in the country for the most propane school bus fleets.
Safely transporting students to and from school while navigating through all types of traffic, weather and terrain is a major—and sometimes daunting—task for school bus drivers. Naturally, this job requires focus, so the fact that propane motors are 50% quieter than diesel engines not only makes for a more pleasant ride, but a safer one.
Buses fueled with propane autogas are crash-tested for impact in the side and rear, meeting rigorous motor vehicle safety standards.
Propane-powered vehicles also get excellent grades as far as emissions standards. When compared with the old diesel buses they have replaced, buses fueled by propane autogas produce far fewer toxic emissions, including nitrogen oxides.
Study shows propane vehicles lower nitrogen oxides
According to a recent study by West Virginia University’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions, propane autogas is a proven way to dramatically decrease emissions of toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx).*
Exposure to NOx exhaust can trigger health problems like asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory issues. The primary source of NOx is motor vehicles—including school buses.** The more propane-powered vehicles and their clean-burning propane motors replace old, pollution-belching diesel-powered buses, the fewer NOx emissions our children will inhale.
According to the study, the findings are significant because NOx represents one of the biggest challenges to air quality in the United States. This toxic gas is a major concern for many areas in our country.
According the U.S. Energy Department’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, approximately 55 percent of manmade NOX emissions come from motor vehicles like school buses.
Cost savings with propane too
New York school districts have also gained enormous fuel savings by using propane autogas instead of more expensive diesel fuel. In terms of fuel and maintenance costs, schools can expect to save an average of $3,000 to $5,000 per bus.
The Propane Education and Research Council estimates that if all older, dirtier diesel school buses across the United States switched over to clean-burning propane-fueled buses, the savings would be enough to cover the hiring of 23,000 teachers.
If you are interested in cutting costs by using propane-powered vehicles for your school buses or other commercial fleets, read more about propane autogas in New York.
**Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.