Roush provides first propane transit buses to South Dakota

June 7, 2024 By     0 Comments

Two South Dakota transit agencies, People’s Transit in Huron and Prairie Hills Transit in Spearfish, unveiled their first orders of safe, environmentally friendly and economical buses fueled with propane autogas.

Prairie Hills, South Dakota, unveils its new propane-fueled buses from Roush CleanTech.

Prairie Hills, South Dakota, unveils its new propane-fueled buses from Roush CleanTech. (Photo courtesy of Roush CleanTech)

“Prairie Hills Transit is on the cutting edge of public transit operation with these new propane buses and the first propane fueling infrastructure in the state,” says Barbara Cline, executive director of Prairie Hills Transit. “We’ve done extensive research and believe that the use of propane is an excellent way to reduce emissions.”

Prairie Hills Transit will operate six propane transit buses, which account for 10 percent of its fleet.

“The new propane buses will have a positive impact on the environment because they reduce harmful emissions, especially when compared to our gasoline and diesel buses,” says Gayle Kludt, executive director of People’s Transit.

People’s Transit will also operate six propane transit buses, transitioning 80 percent of its in-town fleet to propane this calendar year.

Buses for both agencies are equipped with propane engine systems designed and built by Roush CleanTech. According to the company, the Roush CleanTech Ford E-450 cutaway chassis is the only propane vehicle that has completed the Federal Transit Administration’s New Model Bus Testing Program, which allows transit fleet operators to access federal funds.

Both People’s Transit and Prairie Hills Transit have accessed readily available funding streams to help support the purchase of the new buses.

“Funding for the buses will be primarily with Section 5339 federal funding,” Kludt says.

The propane buses will also lower daily operating costs due to reduced fuel and maintenance expenses. On average, propane autogas costs about 40 percent less than gasoline and 50 percent less than diesel.

In addition to environmental benefits, the new propane buses offer low maintenance costs, superior drivability, long-range, reliable cold weather performance and a quick cabin warm-up.

“While this is certainly a big transition, we’ve received incredible support from South Dakota Department of Transportation, Roush CleanTech and our bus dealer, Davey Coach,” Cline says.

According to Roush CleanTech, all of the new propane transit buses are certified to 0.02 grams per brake horsepower-hour and emit 90 percent less nitrogen oxide emissions than the EPA’s strictest standard. EPA and the California Air Resources Board measure NOx, particulate matter, non-methane hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, formaldehyde and nitrous oxide. Propane vehicles equipped with a ROUSH CleanTech fuel system are lower in all eight measured outputs by an average of 64 percent.

Although the first in the state of South Dakota, dozens of transit agencies around the U.S. operate propane buses.

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