Va. School District Buys Two Dozen Propane-Powered Buses

Newport News Public Schools in Newport News, Va., recently took delivery of 24 propane-powered Blue Bird Vision school buses.

“Propane autogas is the best choice for Newport News Public Schools because it’s economical, safe, environmentally friendly and offers many bus maintenance advantages,” says Shay Coates, director of transportation for the school district. “After two years of attending trade shows, meeting with bus manufacturers, and talking with colleagues in school districts that operate alternative fuel buses, we knew this was the direction we wanted to pursue. The benefits of propane, in comparison to diesel, made it an easy choice for the school district.”

Currently, Newport News Public Schools pays 45% less for propane per gallon compared with diesel.

“Newport News Public Schools’ decision to run propane-powered buses is an environmental and cost-effective commitment to the Tidewater area’s students and community,” says Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp.

In addition to providing cost savings, the new propane buses have positively impacted the district’s bus drivers. Rosalind McCauley, an 18-year veteran driver, says the new propane-fueled buses ride smoother and make less noise, allowing her to hear the students better. Driver Halle Washington says that the propane bus is so quiet that “at first, I wasn’t even sure if it was running.”

Equipped with Ford Motor Co.’s 6.8L V10 engine, each bus is powered by a ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel system. Brian Carney, executive director of school bus and customer success for ROUSH CleanTech, says, “Propane-powered school buses offer tangible benefits to school districts like Newport News Public Schools looking for ways to reduce fleet operating costs while reducing their environmental impact.”

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