The Lafayette Parish School System in Louisiana is using Volkswagen settlement fund dollars to purchase propane autogas-powered buses.
According to school bus company Blue Bird, Louisiana’s $18 million is dedicated to the replacement of older diesel school buses over the next three years. Their school districts are given the option to replace these buses by using the funds to cover 25% of the purchase cost of new diesel buses or 50% of the purchase cost of new propane autogas buses.
Blue Bird says Louisiana is the first state to release its VW settlement fund dollars, and Lafayette Parish Schools is the first recipient. The district chose Blue Bird Vision Propane buses to replace aging diesel buses in its fleet.
“With emissions reductions and maintenance costs in mind, we chose to purchase 10 Vision Propane Blue Bird buses,” states Joe Craig, assistant superintendent. He adds that the buses’ larger, extended-range fuel tanks will enable the district to refuel only once per week, on average.
Last year, Blue Bird released a propane autogas engine – produced by Ford and powered by ROUSH CleanTech’s fuel system – certified at the low-NOx emissions level of 0.05 g/bhp-hr. Today, Blue Bird offers an option of 0.02g NOx, making the Blue Bird Vision Propane bus 10 times cleaner than any other make of combustion-fueled school buses, the company claims.
“Because of the low NOx levels that can be reached with our propane engines, the buses are prime for grants and funding, including funding from VW’s Environmental Mitigation Trust,” comments Todd Mouw, president of ROUSH CleanTech.
Today, almost 1 million students ride to school in more than 14,000 Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses across the nation, according to Blue Bird.