Southwestern Wisconsin school district adds propane buses to fleet

April 9, 2018 By    

The North Crawford School District, in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, has added three Blue Bird propane-fueled school buses to its fleet over the last two years.

“We were spending a lot of money and time on diesel-related repairs, and our research showed propane buses would likely have less maintenance costs,” says Demetri Andrews, business manager for North Crawford School District. “They don’t need the extra emissions products installed like our diesel buses.”

According to the North Crawford School District, the district pays $1.32 per gallon for propane compared with $3.10 for diesel.

“Diesel prices are more volatile and difficult to budget for us,” Andrews says.

Andrews says the district contracted a local propane supplier to lock in a price point, making propane easier from a budgeting standpoint.

The Blue Bird Vision propane school bus is powered by a Roush CleanTech propane fuel system and equipped with the Ford 6.8L V10 engine. The district says each propane engine is certified to California Air Resources Board’s low nitrogen oxide (NOx) level of 0.05 grams per brake horsepower-hour, making it 75 percent cleaner than the Environmental Protection Agency’s current emissions standard.

“Schools that add Blue Bird Vision propane buses to their fleets love the quiet ride, the cost savings and the opportunity to improve air quality in their communities,” says Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “Blue Bird’s propane bus offers the cleanest engine in the industry, with the lowest total cost of ownership of any bus on the market.”

The North Crawford buses, which run regular daily routes, reduced NOx emissions by almost 3,000 pounds and particulate matter by about 65 pounds each year compared with the diesel buses they replaced, the district notes.

“North Crawford School District’s propane school buses are the cleanest operating school buses on the road today and provide a quick return on investment to school districts of all sizes,” says Ryan Zic, director of school bus sales for Roush CleanTech. “The low cost of the fuel and maintenance makes adopting propane school buses economically feasible for all school districts.”

The district installed an on-site propane station to fuel the buses. According to the district, the propane company supplied the tank and the school district paid for the cement slab and electrical hook-up. According to Andrews, the district spent $8,000 in fueling infrastructure costs. Those costs have already been recouped through fuel and maintenance savings.

The district plans to purchase additional propane-fueled buses in the future.

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About the Author:

Joe McCarthy was an associate editor at LP Gas Magazine.

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