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New School Bus Fuel Calculator Provides Real Operating Costs

School Transportation News collaborated with ACT Research to provide readers with an online tool that calculates real-world fuel, overall operating and ownership costs, based on individual district or bus operator data.

ACT Research, a commercial vehicle analyst, first developed its fuel calculator and unveiled it last month for the trucking industry. But as Type C and Type D school buses are built on Class 6-8 truck chassis, STN approached the organization and requested customization to meet the student transportation industry’s needs.

The form allows users to input actual or estimated data for diesel, gasoline, natural gas, propane and electric applications and it offers pop-up resources for research. The default measurement is the average per-year miles driven of 13,500, but as with all other fields users can input the figure that best matches the performance in their local area.

In addition to prices paid for each given fuel, the form asks for bus costs, the amount of grant funds or subsidies to offset the purchase, if applicable, and finance rate. It also seeks the miles per gallon or mpg equivalent data and gallons or gallons equivalent consumed per year.

Finally, the form requests users to input the cost of tires, annual maintenance and insurance to provide a breakdown and comparison of annual vehicle costs, including annual fuel costs, annual maintenance and operating costs, and annual cost of ownership.

“This tool, if used properly, meaning real data is used, beats anything I have seen,” commented school bus technology and vehicle operations consultant Robert T. Pudlewski.

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