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New Mexico’s First Propane School Buses Ready for Next School Year

MORIARTY, N.M. — In a partnership with the New Mexico Public Education Department, Los Lunas Public Schools, Magdalena Municipal School District and Moriarty-Edgewood School District have each purchased school buses that are fueled by propane autogas, they announced at a Feb. 19 event. The 17 Blue Bird Vision Propane buses will be the first propane buses to operate in the state.

“Our district has had to dip into operational monies to supplement our transportation costs over the last eight years. Adopting propane technology will be significantly cheaper in fuel and maintenance costs,” said Teresa Salazar, superintendent of MESD, which hosted the event.

Propane autogas prices average 50 percent less than diesel. Propane autogas also reduces maintenance costs, and wear and tear on the engine and components. Additionally, propane may be eligible for federal fuel tax credits.

“It is very rewarding to see these New Mexico school districts lead the state toward adopting these near-zero-emission propane school buses,” said Mark Terry, the chief commercial officer of Blue Bird Corporation. “They will experience the cost- and emissions-reducing benefits with Blue Bird propane school buses, resulting in district savings that can find their way into the classroom.”

The districts’ propane buses emit fewer total hydrocarbons and harmful nitrogen oxides, and virtually eliminate particulate matter. Exposure to NOx exhaust can have negative health effects on children, and is a leading cause of asthma, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Propane buses help districts lower their transportation budget by saving on fuel, fluids and filters,” said Ryan Zic, vice president of school bus sales for ROUSH CleanTech. “Districts get all the emission-reducing benefits, while also saving costs, so that budgets can go to educating students and paying teachers.”

Additional savings are available, thanks to the extension of the federal alternative fuel excise credit. That credit covers propane at 36 cents per U.S. gallon and propane fueling equipment up to $30,000 per property. VW Environmental Mitigation Trust and diesel replacement funds can also help districts with propane bus purchases.

The event included a fueling demonstration and a propane school bus ride-along. In addition, school district transportation directors, drivers and technicians participated in a day-long training session that was presented by Tillery Bus Sales. The hands-on training included an overview of the propane fuel system, properties of propane, diagnostics, maintenance and propane school bus fueling. Driver habits were also discussed to prepare for adopting the new propane buses.

“Our drivers learned a lot about propane school buses, including their cleaner and quieter ride and quick fueling,” said Bryan Baca, transportation director for Magdalena Municipal School District. “They were impressed with the benefits and can’t wait to drive them on their routes.”

The school buses, which are equipped with ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel systems, will begin operation in the 2020-2021 school year.

More than 1.2 million students across the U.S. ride to school in propane buses, making it the fastest-growing nationwide segment of pupil transportation.

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 of those 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, electric and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Elsewhere, the Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service. Aftermarket parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio.

About ROUSH CleanTech

ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader in alternative fuel vehicle technology, is a division of Roush Enterprises, 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, plus 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. www.ROUSHcleantech.com or 800-59-ROUSH.

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