The Propane School Bus Challenge Hits Long Island

Any propane in that tower? (image: Ravenna Photography via

A diesel-powered school bus costs $97,000. It gets about six or seven miles to a gallon of gas.

A propane-powered school bus costs $102,000. It gets about five miles to the gallon.

So go the numbers on Long Island, N.Y., where administrators from the Riverhead School District recently added two new propane buses and two new diesel buses to their fleet. So why bother putting propane in the tank at all? The fuel costs. A gallon of propane in New York is almost 70 cents less than diesel. “We’re going to pick it up in fuel costs,” the school’s transportation director told the local Riverhead News-Review earlier this month.

In addition, the school mechanics should appreciate the new buses. Propane burns cleaner than diesel, prompting many observers to note that maintenance costs are lower on LPG-mobiles.

Meantime, the district will be comparing their new buses, in a prudent side by side match-up. Call it the propane bus challenge.

With the new buys, Riverhead appears to be the first school system on Long Island to pick up propane buses. Though Riverhead joins a growing list of districts around the country that send the kids out on propane-powered field trips, including Los Angeles, Houston, and the New York capital, Albany.

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