‘Staggering’ results in first year of Clean School Bus funding

January 11, 2023 By    

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program offered nearly $1 billion in 2022 rebates to replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models. The awards went to about 400 school districts in all 50 states.

Photo of propane school bus courtesy of Roush CleanTech

Photo courtesy of Roush CleanTech

The results, however, weren’t favorable to propane. Of the more than 2,500 buses benefiting from the program, 95 percent were for electric buses (2,448). The funding allowed for 109 propane buses and 16 on compressed natural gas.

The Clean School Bus Program could have placed as many as 29,000 propane school buses on the roads, writes Todd Mouw, executive vice president of Roush CleanTech, in a blog post. He cites the cost, operational and environmental benefits of propane buses compared to electric.

“If the goal is to get as many dirty diesel buses off the roads as possible, did we actually do that with this round of funding? The answer is clearly no,” he writes.

Erin Hatcher, senior vice president of communications and marketing at the Propane Education & Research Council, called the results “staggering” during the council’s November meeting and underscored how the industry must target audiences beyond propane country. She cited young parents influencing a school district’s bus-purchasing decisions as one group impacting the industry’s future.

The 2022 awards represent the first $1 billion of a five-year, $5 billion program created by federal infrastructure legislation. EPA plans to make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in fiscal year 2023.

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

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