Some school districts switching to propane busses

School bus (file)
Posted at 11:15 AM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 14:15:38-04

(KERO) — The rising cost of fuel is now impacting how schools operate nationwide. Gas prices now influencing districts to try and find new ways to cut costs.

A growing number of districts are turning to clean-burning propane for school buses instead of diesel. At the largest high school district in Illinois, 160 buses travel seven to twelve thousand miles each day, and with surging costs of gas, the transportation budget was just too much.

So the district started looking for cheaper fuel options. They're now running 51 propane school buses and plan to go 100 percent propane by the end of the decade.

"We really were interested in exploring options from an environmental standpoint. And we soon learned that the propane busses provided us those improvements," explained Lauren Hummel, chief operating officer for the Palatine Township District. "They are essentially emission-free. Significantly less than our diesel busses. We've been able to take advantage of other grants that have been provided. We've received about $250,000 in rebates so far toward the purchase of our propane busses."

The Biden Administration recently earmarked $7 million to replace old diesel buses with zero-emission electric models. But many administrators say the cost of powering electric buses is just too high. So propane buses were an easier option.

Right now, a fleet of 22,000 propane-powered school buses is running nationwide across a thousand school districts in 49 states.