The Delaware school district, based in central Ohio, had negative experiences with propane autogas when the district used several propane-fueled buses during the oil and energy crisis of the 1970s.
“I wasn’t around at that point, but our current mechanic and supervisor were,” says Jason Sherman, the district’s director of facilities and transportation. “They’ve said the evaporators made [the buses] hard to run in the winter; there were problems with the tanks, and when you ran out of fuel, you had to prime them.”
By 2000, Sherman says the district got rid of its propane-fueled buses. Despite the poor experiences, Sherman convinced the school district to gradually convert its fleet back to propane autogas starting this year.
“I’ve read about this a lot, tested a propane-fueled bus with Blue Bird and saw the technology has changed to the point where it’s a much better solution than the old-style gasoline or diesel engine,” he says. “Also knowing these propane buses are being integrated to more fleets across the country and seeing how well they do in cold climates convinced me to bring this back to our area.”
“Both school districts called us regarding a quote on propane, and we offered a competitive price for both districts,” says Brian Schilling, of Schilling Propane Services. “This was a great opportunity for us to get involved in propane autogas for fleets.”
The Delaware school district has three new propane-fueled buses to join its fleet of 50 buses for this year. Sherman says if these three buses work well, the district plans to purchase three to four propane-fueled buses per year moving forward.