At the beginning of the year, more than 12,000 propane autogas school buses were in operation at public and private school districts across the U.S. – an annual increase of approximately 10%, according to figures from the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).
PERC has found that propane autogas buses now make up more than 45% of all non-diesel school buses used for student transportation.
“First-time adopters of propane autogas school buses are converting entire fleets after they see for themselves the advantages propane can offer everyone involved, from the transportation directors, to the bus drivers, to the students riding the propane buses,” says Michael Taylor, PERC director of autogas business development.
“We expect more districts to turn to propane throughout 2017 and beyond as transportation directors learn of the lower total cost of ownership, cleaner and quieter operation, and better maintenance experience that a propane autogas bus fleet can offer a district,” he says.
According to the data, compiled by PERC from IHS Polk New Vehicle Registration figures, propane autogas school buses are being implemented on a national scale, transporting more than 700,000 students in 600 districts across 47 states.
The new data shows that six states – California, Florida, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin – each have more than 500 propane autogas buses in operation within their borders. Texas, with 2,600 buses in operation throughout the state, operates more than 20% of all propane autogas buses in the country. PERC notes that New York boasts the highest number of districts operating propane, with more than 50 districts.
Five other states – Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas – have more than 30 districts apiece using propane autogas buses in fleets.
PERC is a nonprofit that provides propane safety and training programs and invests in research and development of new propane-powered technologies.