There’s a reason why propane autogas has been the most popular choice of late to power school buses, namely the lower cost of ownership compared to any other available alt-fuel technology.
That was the message from Michael Taylor of the Propane Education & Research Council during a sponsored a webinar on Tuesday presented by School Transportation News. More than 120 users logged on for the live event to learn more about propane infrastructure and the costs involved.
Taylor, the director of business development for PERC, discussed not only the lower price of propane compared to diesel—which even with current low prices the former is running $1 to $2 per gallon cheaper than the latter—but how propane also eliminates fluid and filter costs associated with diesel use.
These are among the reasons why all four major school bus manufacturers—Blue Bird, Collins, IC Bus and Thomas Bus—all offer propane autogas models.
“Regardless of your (brand) preference, there is a propane option for you today,” he added.
Additionally, he pointed out that fleets using propane and other alternative fuels can retroactively apply for a 2015 federal tax credit of 50 cents per gallon, and in 2016 a tax credit of 36 cents per gallon remains in play. Additionally, many states offer grants, loans, leases, rebates or other tax incentives for alt fuels.
Propane school buses also don’t come with emissions after-treatment systems that add to the upfront cost of purchasing diesel buses or downstream maintenance costs. Taylor also stated that propane operates well in cold weather, eliminating the need for engine heaters.
Taylor also discussed the most common options for fleets when it comes to deciding on fueling stations, whether those be privately owned by a propane fuel supplier or by the district itself, requirements for setting up maintenance facilities.
The webinar, Propane — Financial Common Sense for Schools, is archived for 24/7 viewing.