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South Dakota school districts purchase propane-fueled buses

March 29, 2021 By    

Six South Dakota school districts received Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) funding to purchase propane-fueled buses.

The school districts – Brookings, Gayville-Volin, Harrisburg, Lennox, Madison Central and Yankton – chose to utilize Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses.

“Our school district began a three-year pilot program to test propane buses because of the opportunity for cost savings and funding assistance,” says Tony Anderson, transportation supervisor of Yankton School District. “We purchased two Blue Bird propane buses through the DENR program and have been awarded rebates for two additional propane buses. With their lower maintenance, cleaner emissions and quieter ride, we plan to keep buying propane buses.”

Harrisburg School District operates eight Blue Bird propane buses, five of which were purchased using funding.

“Our Blue Bird propane buses have cut our costs in half,” says Lance Gerry, fleet manager for Harrisburg School District. “On average, our diesel buses cost $5,000 per year to run, while our propane buses are only $2,500. On top of that, we’re saving $50 per oil change compared to diesel. The savings add up quickly.”

Both school districts have on-site propane fueling stations and pay about half the cost for propane autogas compared to diesel per gallon, according to the company.

Because the buses’ Roush CleanTech propane fuel system is certified to meet the California Air Resources Board’s low nitrogen oxide standards, Yankton and Harrisburg school districts received DENR funding to cover 35 percent of the purchase price for the new propane buses, the company says. In addition, the school buses also qualify for federal alternative fuel excise tax credits.

Featured image: tttuna/E+/Getty Images

About the Author:

Carly McFadden is associate editor at LP Gas Magazine. She is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and a native of Cleveland, Ohio. McFadden can be reached at cmcfadden@northcoastmedia.net.

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