SoCal School District Serves Up Public-Access CNG Fueling

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The Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) in Southern California has opened its own compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station that will also be open to the public 24/7.

On June 25, RUSD held the station’s grand opening/ribbon-cutting ceremony, which is located at 261 South Lilac Ave. in Rialto, San Bernardino County. RUSD claims to be the first K-12 school district in Southern California to own and operate a CNG fueling station.

“Our new station allows the district to lower the cost of fuel while increasing our operational efficiency in ways that are environmentally responsible for our students and our community,” says Mohammad Z. Islam, RUSD’s associate superintendent of business services. “Our drivers currently have to drive to the cities of Fontana or Riverside to obtain fuel for our 38 CNG buses at a much higher cost.”

Over a decade ago, the district’s transportation department starting looking into adopting alt-fuel school buses. Five years ago, the RUSD board of education authorized the implementation of the CNG station.

“In 2006, the RUSD transportation department began the journey of reducing our carbon footprint on the environment by incorporating clean fuel school buses, which reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during the transporting of students,” adds Dora Parham, RUSD’s transportation/garage manager. “Our buses
are yellow, but our fleet is turning green.”

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RUSD notes it has a “strong business partnership” with the California Energy Commission (which provided a $500,000 grant in 2015), the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

“The hard work of our staff and the focus-based support of the board of education will now benefit our entire community of Rialto,” says Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila, RUSD’s superintendent. “This is another success story in which innovative, smart decisions are made in the best interest of our younger generation. Although we are educating our students through modeling the importance of environmental science, the district is also excited to offer this fuel service station to the entire community of drivers.”

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