Wisconsin School District Saves Big With Propane Autogas


Over the past two years, southern Wisconsin’s North Crawford School District has added Blue Bird propane autogas-fueled school buses to its fleet – in turn, lowering the district’s carbon footprint while reducing transportation costs.

Equipped with Ford Motor Co.’s 6.8L V10 engine, each Blue Bird Vision Propane school bus is powered by a ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel system. Lowering emissions, the propane engine is certified to the California Air Resources Board’s strict low nitrogen oxide (NOx) level of 0.05 grams per brake horsepower-hour.

“We were spending a lot of money and time on diesel-related repairs, and our research showed propane buses would likely have less maintenance costs,” says Demetri Andrews, business manager for North Crawford School District, in a press release from ROUSH CleanTech. “They don’t need the extra emissions products installed like our diesel buses.”

North Crawford School District pays $1.32 per gallon for propane autogas compared with $3.10 for diesel.

“Diesel prices are more volatile and difficult to budget for us,” continues Andrews.

The district contracted with a local propane supplier to lock in the price, making propane easier from a budgeting standpoint, says ROUSH.

“Schools that add Blue Bird Vision Propane buses to their fleets love the quiet ride, the cost-savings and the opportunity to improve air quality in their communities,” comments Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “Blue Bird’s propane bus offers the cleanest engine in the industry with the lowest total cost of ownership of any bus on the market.”

The North Crawford buses, which run regular daily routes, have reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by almost 3,000 pounds and particulate matter by about 65 pounds each year (compared with the diesel buses they replaced), says ROUSH.

“North Crawford School District’s propane school buses are the cleanest-operating school buses on the road today and provide a quick return on investment to school districts of all sizes,” says Ryan Zic, director of school bus sales at ROUSH CleanTech. “The low cost of the fuel and maintenance makes adopting propane school buses economically feasible for all school districts.”

The district chose to install an on-site propane autogas station to fuel the buses. The propane company supplied the tank, and the school district paid for the cement slab and electrical hook-up.

“The district spent a total of $8,000 in fueling infrastructure costs,” Andrews adds. He reports that those costs have already been recouped through fuel and maintenance savings.

North Crawford plans to purchase additional propane autogas buses in the near future.

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