The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded more than $7.7 million to replace or retrofit 401 older diesel school buses with newer, more efficient technology.
According to the EPA, the funds are going to 88 school bus fleets in 27 states, each of which will receive rebates through the EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new and retrofitted buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems, such as asthma and lung damage.
“Thanks to DERA funding, we are protecting our children from breathing diesel emissions as they travel to school,” says Christopher Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “Nearly 17,000 of our country’s schools are located within steps of a heavily traveled road, potentially exposing more than 6 million children to traffic-related pollution at a time when their developing lungs are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution.”
The EPA says that applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $25,000, depending on the size of the bus.
Applicants also had the option of retrofitting school buses with engine model years between 1994 to 2006 with a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst plus Closed Crankcase Ventilation system (DOC plus CCV) to reduce toxic emissions. The EPA will fully fund the cost of these devices up to $4,000.
The EPA has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90% cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating. These older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Since 2008, the DERA program has funded more than 700 clean diesel projects across the country, reducing emissions in more than 70,000 engines.
Click here for the full list of 2016 DERA school bus rebate recipients.