It was one year ago that Crittenden County Schools took action to become the first school system in Kentucky to pilot a propane autogas bus, and today the district said it would use newly awarded grant funding to purchase four more.
Gov. Steve Beshear announced the Kentucky Division for Air Quality would give the Crittenden County Board of Education approximately $95,000 in Kentucky clean diesel grant funding to reduce diesel emissions from its school bus fleet. The funds were available as a result of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act, or DERA.
Four new school buses powered by propane autogas will replace four older-model diesel school buses as part of this project. District officials have adopted propane autogas for both environmental benefits and cost savings, they said, as propane burns cleaner than diesel, producing fewer smog-producing hydrocarbons and eliminating emissions of particulate matter linked to increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
The new buses will also save money, they added. “Crittenden County has been thrilled with the cost savings of the propane-fueled bus we purchased last year,” said Crittenden County Transportation Director Al Starnes. “Considering all costs of maintenance and operation last year, the propane bus costs 23 cents per mile, whereas our diesel buses cost an average of 56 cents per mile.”
Officials estimate the addition of the four new propane buses will save approximately $13,000 in the 2014-2015 school year.
“Crittenden County continues to lead the way toward a cleaner, greener school bus fleet,” said Gov. Beshear. “Everyone benefits when we reduce diesel emissions in our communities — especially our children.”
Last year, Crittenden County received grant funding to retrofit 14 diesel buses with emissions-control technologies and to replace one 1992 model-year diesel school bus with a 2014 MY school bus (pictured, above) powered by propane autogas — the first ever propane bus used for student transportation in Kentucky. As a result, the district won the 2013 Green Fleet Award (public school fleet) from the Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition.
To raise awareness, the Kentucky Propane Education & Research Council showed off the Blue Bird Propane Vision at the Kentucky School Board Association's Summer Leadership last July. In addition, Crittenden County students sang about the groundbreaking decision in a PSA created by the district to encourage all of Kentucky to catch up with them on "the road to a greener world that runs on propane." Check out the video below.