New Propane-Fueled Buses Rolling Out in Texas

Propane is much cleaner-burning than traditional vehicle fuels so it produces far fewer ozone-depleting greenhouse gases. (image: treehugger.com)

A West Texas district school board has received a grant of more than $700,000 to buy seven new propane-fueled buses and install a 20,000-gallon propane-refuelling station.

The 91-passenger Blue Bird buses will be rolling into Midland in December to service the MISD School Board. The grant is part of the American Recovery Reinvestment Act, mywesttexas.com reported.

The district typically replaces five to seven buses each year. However this year it was unable to replace buses because of budgetary constraints, the district’s director of transportation services Willie Tarleton said.

Countless schools, government departments and commercial transportation fleets around the country are switching to propane autogas as the price of gasoline soars. The board’s assistant superintendent of administration Ed Zachary said the grant was an opportunity for the district to evaluate the effectiveness of propane buses at no cost.

This will not only be cost-free for the school district, but will impact us as to how we will purchase buses in the future. We’ve got to road test them and see how they work. However, we are anticipating a better fuel efficiency.

If the district found propane buses were a good investment, it would consider purchasing more down the line.

Propane is the world’s third most popular vehicle fuel behind gasoline and diesel, but it is much cheaper and cleaner-burning. It generates up to 90 percent less carbon monoxide, ozone and hydrocarbon emissions than traditional vehicle fuels. But it is also found in abundance in the United States.

Nearly all of the propane we use in the US is produced domestically and supply is forecast to increase as new technology allows gas producers to access trapped shale gas reserves beneath the earth. This will help reduce our reliance on imported foreign oil while limiting damage to the environment.