Blue Bird announced that its Gasoline Vision school bus has received certification it exceeds the federal standard of 0.20 g/bhp-hr in nitrogen oxide emissions. EPA and the California Air Resources Board approved the bus last month.
Blue Bird said that the certifications were delayed as a result of the Volkswagen emissions issue and subsequent penalties. The investigations also affected certification for other buses.
Blue Bird added that the news means more school districts across the nation can now purchase the Type C school bus that was first unveiled at the STN EXPO in July 2015. More than 100 school districts have already done so.
“During certification testing, our gasoline buses achieved an emission output of 0.08 g/bhp-hr NOx, which is significantly lower than the federal standard of 0.2 g/bhp-hr,” said Trey Jenkins, vice president of customer service and alternative fuels for Blue Bird Corporation. “The Blue Bird Vision Gasoline bus uses the same Ford 6.8L V10 engine, giving it the power that drivers expect from a traditional diesel school bus. Customers are experiencing immediate savings due to the lower upfront cost of the vehicle and long term savings due to the lower cost of maintenance.”
School districts like Cobb County School District in Georgia and bus contractors like Cook-Illinois Corporation in Chicago who are already using the Gasoline Vision say the school bus is cheaper to operate and is easy to start in cold weather.
“We also saw long-term savings in terms of our total cost of ownership as well as a larger pool of qualified mechanics,” said Rick Grisham, executive director of transportation for Cobb County School District. “Our initial numbers are showing a great amount of savings on both fuel and maintenance costs. It’s truly been a win-win for us.”
Meanwhile, John Benish, Jr., chief operating officer for Cook-Illinois, said the contractor no longer needs to use engine heaters in the morning.
“This translates to additional savings for us and for the school districts we service,” he added.
The Type C doesn’t require additional parts to run clean, explained Blue Bird in a statement, which keeps maintenance costs low. And, “Contrary to popular belief, fuel costs are also a savings factor for the gasoline buses, as school districts can obtain contracts to avoid many taxes and fees that are added to gasoline fuel, making it an affordable alternative to diesel,” the company added.