Pennsylvania school district adds 14 autogas buses to fleet

November 4, 2019 By    

North Penn School District in Pennsylvania debuted 14 propane-powered school buses during an event at North Penn High School. The buses, funded in part by the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust, went into operation last month.

“Propane school buses make the most sense for us. Other types of alternative-fuel school buses are cost prohibitive and do not make sense for a school district our size,” says Angelo Tornetta, technician supervisor for North Penn School District. “Propane autogas operates clean and is much cheaper than diesel or compressed natural gas, plus it costs less to maintain a propane school bus. So, it was an easy decision.”

North Penn School District currently pays 97 cents per gallon for propane compared to $2.04 for diesel, Roush CleanTech says. The district installed an onsite fuel station with 18,000-gallon tank capacity.

“The Ford engine with a Roush CleanTech propane fuel system exceeds today’s emissions standard at nearly 10 times lower NOx output, achieving California Air Resources Board’s optional, ultra-low certification,” says Ryan Zic, vice president of school bus sales for Roush CleanTech. “Both the school district and surrounding community will benefit from cleaner air and also less maintenance costs since the engine is so clean.”

Roush CleanTech says the school district’s drivers are impressed with the power of the new propane buses and the low amount of noise that the engines create. Drivers add the propane buses make for a much quieter and calmer bus ride for the students.

“With a propane bus, I am able to monitor activity inside the bus much better than I’d ever been able to before,” says William Gottshall, a bus driver for the school district. “If something is going on inside the propane bus, I know about it immediately,”

The school district says it plans to purchase more propane buses with the budget it saves in fuel and maintenance.

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Joe McCarthy was an associate editor at LP Gas Magazine.

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