Fuel Fact Check: Propane Autogas School Buses Are Safe


When deciding on safe options for school transportation, some decision-makers don’t consider propane autogas because they are under the impression the fuel is not safe. What they don’t know is propane is one of the safest options available. Not only is it safe for the students who ride propane buses to school, but it is safe for the communities in which the buses drive.

Propane autogas has been used for over a century to power vehicles. According to the Energy Policy Act of 1992, propane is a clean, safe and emissions-reducing alternative fuel. It is a nontoxic, non-carcinogenic and non-corrosive fuel classified as a non-contaminant by the EPA. If released from a vehicle, propane poses no threat to soil or groundwater.

In addition, weather does not impact how propane school buses run. They start up and operate reliably in all weather conditions, from the hottest days to as cold as -40 degrees or more. The ROUSH CleanTech system is also designed with a thermal management feature. If the system is exposed to extreme heat due to the result of an accident or another cause, it adjusts to a vent cycle to manage pressure and prevent tank integrity from being compromised.

Ryan Zic

Propane autogas school buses are built with safety in mind. Propane fuel tanks are 20 times more puncture-resistant than gasoline or diesel tanks and can withstand four times the maximum working pressure of the system. Plus, they are constructed from carbon steel in compliance with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Tank mounting systems are designed to the National Fire Protection Association requirement to ensure tanks remain securely attached even in a severe collision or rollover. The ROUSH CleanTech system is fitted with safety devices and shut-off valves that function automatically if the fuel line severs.

And when it comes to fueling, propane it is a closed-loop system. Drivers and mechanics avoid the spills and odor that come with filling up with diesel or gasoline.

One of the most notable benefits of propane autogas school buses is their ability to create a safer experience for those in contact with the buses. Propane buses virtually eliminate particulate matter and substantially reduce harmful nitrogen oxides. According to the EPA, exposure to nitrogen oxides exacerbates health problems like asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory issues. As reported in October 2019, a Georgia State study found diesel school bus fumes drove down test scores. With propane buses, there are no strong-smelling fumes impacting children.

Plus, propane buses reduce noise levels compared to diesel. Having the ability to hear students while the bus is in motion is a huge safety advantage for both students and drivers.

Bottom line? Propane buses are designed with safety as the top priority, providing a high level of safety for schools, students and communities.

Ryan Zic is vice president of sales – school bus for ROUSH CleanTech. His expertise includes direct sales, original equipment manufacturer management and Tier 1 sales and support.

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Jonathan Overly
Jonathan Overly
4 years ago

Two thumbs up ROUSH and Blue Bird for leadng the way!!