A recent analysis found Broward County Public Schools' (BCPS) student transportation and fleet services department reduced its annual operating costs by over $600,000 through the use of school buses fueled by propane autogas, according to ROUSH CleanTech. Furthermore, the school district has ordered additional autogas buses.
BCPS, one of the largest school districts in Florida, started using 98 propane-powered Blue Bird Vision buses in the 2014/15 school year. The vehicles are manufactured by Blue Bird Corp. and feature ROUSH autogas fuel systems.
“After researching the direction of school bus transportation, we decided propane was the best fit and the best use of taxpayer dollars,” says Patricia Snell, director of student transportation and fleet services for BCPS. “We've been thrilled with the savings, as well as the performance of the buses.”
According to ROUSH, the district paid an average of $1.32 per gallon for propane and $2.75 for diesel over the last year. In addition to fuel savings, annual maintenance costs for the alternatively fueled buses amounted to 80% less than for the district's diesel buses, the company adds.
BCPS operates 1,269 school buses, including the 98 autogas models. Each bus travels an average of 16,500 miles per year, transporting approximately 75,000 students. The district expects to save more than $74,000 in operating costs over the 12-year lifecycle of each autogas bus, which equates to a 38 cents/mile savings.
Furthermore, ROUSH says BCPS budgeted for a six-month return on investment of the initial propane engine upcharge, but the district succeeded in recouping that cost in three months.
BCPS has ordered 37 additional propane autogas buses for the 2015/16 school year.