This year, the Jordan School District in Utah has added 36 new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to its fleet, bringing the total to 105. Notably, this represents the largest CNG school bus system in the state, according to Utah Clean Cities.
On Sept. 12, local lawmakers, city leaders, school district officials, students and clean air advocates came together to celebrate the school district’s investment in CNG.
“Utah Clean Cities is honored to be allied with this tremendous accomplishment achieved by the Jordan School District,” said Tammie Bostick-Cooper, executive director of Utah Clean Cities. “We have been closely partnered with the advanced fuel fleet project since inception and watched the progression, setbacks and success of a goal. They have created a model for Utah and the nation.”
She continued, “The leadership piece they have achieved has been the capacity to translate vision into reality and to navigate an untraveled path. This has truly been a triumph; balancing the leadership attributes of patience, innovation, planning and the spirit of try, try again and never stop trying for end goal. Today, we celebrate a fleet and the leadership of that fleet that is a shining example of hard-won success.”
The Jordan School District says it used $1.7 million in state and federal grant money to purchase the 36 buses this year. In total, its 105 buses are expected to save the district about $630,000 per year in fuel costs.
According to Utah Clean Cities’ estimates, throughout the 41 school districts and charter schools in Utah, school buses travel approximately 32 million miles each school year. This equates to a significant amount of diesel exhaust, which can lead to the formation of both wintertime particulate air pollution and summertime ozone pollution. Utah Clean Cities says CNG buses emit 40%-86% less particulate matter into the air compared to older diesel school buses.
In turn, numerous efforts have been made over the past several years to remove older diesel school buses in Utah and replace them with cleaner fuel alternatives such as CNG, clean diesel, electric, propane or hybrid. One CNG school bus can save the equivalent of the emissions produced by roughly 35 passenger cars on the road, the coalition notes.
Last year, Utah Clean Cities points out, Gov. Gary Herbert, R-Utah, announced that the state would use approximately $7.5 million in funds from the Volkswagen Dieselgate settlement to upgrade diesel school buses to a cleaner-burning alternative fuel.
A video of Jordan School District’s CNG bus celebration can be watched here: