The Propane Education & Research Council donated $2,500 to Friendswood Junior High School recently in recognition of its effort to improve students’ health and safety by adopting a propane-powered bus fleet. The donation is part of the commodity check-off program’s new campaign to educate consumers about the benefits of transitioning away from diesel and other dirty fuels.
“Diesel has long been the standard in school transportation, but for districts that want to reduce harmful emissions, save money, and create a safer, healthier ride, propane is an excellent alternative,” said Roy Willis, PERC president and CEO.
In 2012, Friendswood Junior High began transitioning their bus fleet to the alternative fuel. Today, 12 of its 50 buses run on propane, with three more on order. Transportation Director Mike Jones said he’s pushing for an all propane fleet. For Friendswood, “it’s a complete win-win,” Jones said.
“The fuel is cheaper, the infrastructure is simpler and it’s cleaner for the environment,” said Jones. “The new diesel models come with the after treatment systems on the exhaust,” he said. “We don’t have to worry about any of that with the propane.”
According to PERC, aside from serious cost-saving benefits, propane buses run quieter than diesel, allowing drivers to better monitor passengers’ activity. They also reduce exposure to diesel exhaust, which the World Health Organization classifies as a carcinogen.
Recognizing these benefits, schools across 45 states — a total of more than 7,000 buses — have transitioned to propane. Twenty of the top 25 designated market areas and four of the 10 largest school districts in the country are now using them. The trend prompted PERC to launch an awareness campaign early this fall to teach communities about the benefits of propane-powered transportation. The Council has partnered with journalist and former teacher Jenna Bush Hager and the nonprofit Adopt a Classroom to donate more than $30,000 nationwide to teachers at schools adopting propane buses.
“It’s clear when you talk to school administrators and transportation departments that they are saving more than just dollars and cents by going with propane buses,” said Hager. “The switch is improving their school as a whole and giving them the opportunity to invest in more teachers or school programs.”
For more information on propane school buses, including bus safety tips for parents and kids courtesy of the National Association of Pupil Transportation, visit BetterOurBuses.com. To donate to teachers in your local community, visit AdoptAClassroom.org.