Livonia Public Schools has added 22 Blue Bird propane autogas-fueled buses to its fleet with funding received from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).
The district was granted $844,386.40 through EGLE’s Fuel Transformation Program to purchase propane school buses that began operation when Michigan schools opened for the 2020-21 school year.
“With our new Blue Bird propane buses, the school district saves money, our students get a safer bus and our community gets a cleaner environment,” says Rick Martin, fleet garage supervisor for Livonia Public Schools. “We think our Livonia Public Schools parents will be impressed by this big step, and they’ll be interested to know that these propane fuel systems are manufactured right here in Livonia by ROUSH CleanTech.”
The district turned to propane after dealing with the costly and complex emission systems required on diesel buses. The new Blue Bird Vision Propane buses don’t require any additional emission maintenance. They are 75% cleaner than federal emissions standards, emitting fewer total hydrocarbons and virtually eliminating particulate matter. Propane school buses also reduce harmful nitrogen oxides by 96%, according to a 2019 study by West Virginia University. Exposure to nitrogen oxide exhaust can have negative health effects on children and is a leading cause of asthma, according to the EPA.
Across North America, the price of propane autogas averages 50% less than diesel. The district pays $2.08 per gallon for diesel and $1.21 per gallon for propane. The district installed a propane fuel station on its property to help manage fuel costs and refill the buses. The filling station was built at a minimal cost to the school district based upon a contract to purchase propane fuel from AmeriGas.
To date, EGLE has provided grants to 69 school districts to replace over 300 school buses. Across the nation, there are more than 20,000 propane buses deployed in over 1,000 school districts.