LEANDER, Texas — Students at Leander Independent School District will be riding to school in new Blue Bird Vision Propane buses this month, thanks to grants from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
The 24 new buses are equipped with Ford’s 6.8L V10 engine and ROUSH CleanTech’s propane fuel system, which are EPA- and California Air Resources Board-certified. The best-selling propane school bus in North America is also the cleanest. These buses produce low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions at 0.05g NOx, which is 75 percent cleaner than the EPA emissions standard and any other offering on the market.
“The impact of our school bus fleet on the environment is a big concern because many of our community members live in an environmentally sensitive area,” said Ann Hatton, director of transportation for Leander ISD. “They appreciate that our school district is adopting a cleaner transportation option in propane.”
The school district, which has operated Blue Bird’s propane-fueled buses since 2008, has obtained multiple grants over the years. This year, Leander ISD received $740,000 in funding from TCEQ. “Both our propane provider and local Blue Bird dealer have been very active in helping us identify grants,” said Hatton.
“Leander ISD received grants from both TCEQ and Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance because propane buses reduce harmful emission around its students, drivers and community,” said Ryan Zic, director of school bus sales for ROUSH CleanTech. “These buses will also lower the district’s fuel and maintenance costs significantly over their lifetime by operating with domestically produced propane autogas.”
Across North America, propane autogas costs an average of 40 to 50 percent less than diesel. Currently, the school district pays 45 percent less for propane than diesel fuel.
“The savings achieved with our propane buses go back into our school district general funds,” said Hatton. “I am pleased that our choice of an alternative fuel can help put money back into the classroom.”
When compared with the diesel buses they replaced, the district’s 127 propane buses reduce harmful NOx emissions by more than 130,000 pounds and particulate matter by almost 3,000 pounds annually. In addition, Hatton said the district’s technicians benefit from the lack of exhaust fumes in the maintenance bays. She also noted that the district’s drivers appreciate the propane buses’ “get up and go” performance.
“It is very rewarding to see this school district continue its commitment to adopting propane school buses,” said Mark Terry, chief commercial officer at Blue Bird Corporation. “Our number one goal is the safety of the students we transport, and we feel that further reducing emissions achieves this goal.”
Thirty percent of Leander ISD’s current fleet operates on propane autogas. The district plans to double its number of propane buses over the next five years.
About Blue Bird Corporation
Blue Bird (NASDAQ: BLBD) is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927, with approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture, and sale of school buses and related parts.
As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production that are specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative fuel applications, with its propane-powered and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center, located in Delaware, Ohio. www.blue-bird.com
About Leander Independent School District
LISD is one of the fastest-growing school districts in Texas, educating more than 40,000 students at its 42 campuses. The district encompasses nearly 200 square miles. leanderisd.org
About ROUSH CleanTech
ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of alternative fuel vehicle technology, is a division of Roush Enterprises, which is based in Livonia, Michigan. ROUSH CleanTech designs, engineers, manufactures and installs propane autogas and electric fuel system technology for medium-duty Ford commercial vehicles and school buses, and compressed natural gas fuel systems for school buses. As a Ford QVM-certified alternative fuel vehicle manufacturer, ROUSH CleanTech delivers economical, clean and domestically produced fueling options for fleets across North America. ROUSHcleantech.com or call 800-59-ROUSH.