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The Muscogee County School District in Columbus,


Georgia also uses propane fuel. Transportation Director Herbert Hill said the main advantages of propane buses, aside from the cost savings on fuel and lower carbon dioxide output, is the mileage per unit of fuel factor. He said his district is achieving the same mileage per unit of fuel as diesel. The propane buses, both large and small, are also running longer service schedules without filter replacements and other repairs that are commonly asso- ciated with diesel engines. He also shared that his district pays $2 to $2.50 per gallon for diesel fuel. Meanwhile, propane is $1.15 per gallon. Plus, the driv-


ers aren’t experiencing the difficulty with cold starts that they do with diesels. Lastly, there have been no major engine problems with propane. The economics of propane seem more than adequate.


“We have several school districts who have chosen to convert from diesel to propane buses in the past several years, with the number one reason being the increased cost of maintaining a modern diesel school bus,” said Mark Denton, vice president of business development for Blossman Gas in Mobile, Alabama. “Their second reason


was the lower cost of fuel when considering propane. On average, a school district will save approximately $2,000 per year on maintenance and $1,000 per year on fuel costs compared to a diesel bus, for a total annual savings per bus of $3,000. This is significant, given that the pro- pane bus is 2.5 times quieter than the diesel bus, which brings added safety benefits to drivers and students.”


Grant Watch To contend with these issues, state governments are assisting districts. So is the EPA, which offers a program to retire old school buses and replace them with more fuel-efficient and emissions-friendly ones. The rebate program is authorized by the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010. The EPA’s 2018 School Bus Rebate Program that recently closed offered $9 million to public and pri- vate fleet owners for the replacement of old diesel school buses with new buses that are certified to EPA’s cleanest emission standards. The EPA awarded select applicants $15,000 to $20,000 per bus for scrapping and replacing. In early 2019, the Toms River School District in New Jersey earned $200,000 in rebates as it incrementally


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