Canadian Fleets Transitioning School Buses to Propane


SOUTHLAND Transportation, a provider of sustainable transportation solutions, recently began bringing Halifax, Nova Scotia, students to school on 144 propane buses. This is the largest propane fleet in Atlantic Canada. 

“We are seeing an upward trend in schools and government switching to propane buses across the country, the latest in the Halifax Regional Municipality,” says Nathalie St.-Pierre, president and CEO of the Canadian Propane Association. “The reason for this growth is clear: propane buses are significantly healthier for our young people and the environment. They are cleaner, quieter and they are made for Canadian winters, starting in -50 below weather. Add to that the economic advantages – such as fuel savings and lower maintenance costs – low-emission propane checks all the boxes.”

School buses equipped with propane fuel systems reduce tailpipe emissions not only in comparison to the older diesel buses they are replacing but against the latest and most stringent standards. In real-world testing conducted by West Virginia University in 2018, propane produced 96% fewer NOx emissions compared with clean diesel buses. Using propane buses also reduced particulate matter, which can irritate asthma and other breathing-related issues.

By fueling with propane, operators avoid the spills that result from diesel fueling, as well as the resulting diesel emissions. Unlike gasoline or diesel, auto propane is part of a closed-loop system, meaning the fuel is never exposed to air and will not spill. Fueling is quick and safe, taking a similar amount of time as fueling with gasoline or diesel.

SOUTHLAND Transportation began utilizing propane as an alternative fuel to diesel in the 1980s and currently owns and operates the largest propane-fueled fleet of school buses in Canada, with over 850 buses currently in operation. 

Today, more than 1.3 million children in North America ride to and from school in buses fueled by auto propane. In Canada, dozens of school districts and school bus contractors are adopting low-emission propane buses for proven safety, reduced emissions and better savings. A growing number of school bus operators have made propane their fuel of choice to transport students. 

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