ZIONSVILLE, Ind. — Zionsville Community Schools is now operating 33 new propane school buses that are 90% cleaner than the current Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for nitrogen oxides.
The fast-growing suburban public school district, which is located outside of Indianapolis, currently serves 8,000 students across nine campuses. To keep up with the community’s growth, the district increased bus routes using an alternative fuel that it knows and trusts: propane autogas.
“We love operating propane buses,” says Amy Eaton, transportation manager at Zionsville Community Schools. “They produce less pollution, which is great for our students. They’re much quieter, which benefits the drivers. And, they provide fuel savings, which is great for the school.”
About 150 school districts across the country began the 2023-24 school year with brand-new Blue Bird propane buses powered by ROUSH CleanTech’s innovative propane technology. Zionsville is just one example of school districts making the move to an affordable, sustainable alternative fuel that sets them up to easily meet upcoming emissions regulations.
“Propane provides a simple solution to complex problems,” says Todd Mouw, executive vice president at ROUSH CleanTech. “Propane is the common-sense approach it works, and it will do the job you need it to while meeting regulations through 2027.”
The district began adopting propane autogas in 2020, with an initial purchase of 21 propane buses from MacAllister Transportation. The initiative to adopt a cleaner fuel has been so successful that the transportation department now operates 54 propane school buses, which is 65% of its fleet and 73% of its total daily routes.
Propane vehicles reduce smog-producing emissions, eliminate particulate matter and lower nitrogen oxides by 95% compared with diesel. It is the leading alternative fuel for school buses in the United States, with more than 20,000 in operation in over 1,000 districts across the nation. There are about 600 propane buses in Indiana.
Over the last three years, feedback about propane buses from district staff has been positive. “Once the drivers get behind the wheel, they love them,” says Eaton. “My mechanics love them, too.”
“The performance of a propane bus is very similar to a diesel bus in relation to speed and acceleration,” Eaton continues. “And there are zero issues starting up in cold weather.”
The district partnered with Co Alliance to install onsite propane fueling stations and is currently paying $1.59 per gallon of propane compared to $3.12 per gallon of diesel. The savings and ability to negotiate low pricing have helped the district manage its budget during a time of rapid expansion and student growth.
About Zionsville Community Schools: Zionsville Community Schools (ZCS) is a public school system serving nearly 8,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students in Eagle and Union townships in Boone County, Indiana. ZCS is one of the most rapidly growing school communities in the state of Indiana and is one of the top-performing school districts in the state.
About ROUSH CleanTech: ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of advanced clean transportation solutions, is a division of the global engineering company Roush Enterprises. ROUSH CleanTech develops propane autogas technology for medium-duty Ford commercial vehicles and school buses. With more than 37,000 vehicles on the road, the Livonia, Michigan-based company delivers economical, emissions-reducing options for fleets across North America. Learn more at ROUSHcleantech.com or by calling 800.59.ROUSH.