One school district recently completed converting a portion of its buses to this alternative fuel, while several other districts will receive new or updated refueling infrastructure equipment in the Lone Star state.
Dallas County Schools, the fourth-largest pupil transportation organization in the country, had 53 of its Type A school buses converted to utilize propane autogas. The district anticipates to save more than $200,000 annually in addition to the approximate $1.5 million it saves already annually in fuel costs, said CleanFUEL USA, a supplier of propane autogas infrastructure and engine systems that was instrumental with the conversion. The district has been utilizing propane autogas for more than 10 years.
DCS has more than 1,700 buses, 11 service centers and a transportation staff of more than 1,800 employees. It transports approximately 60,000 children to and from local schools each day.
“The decision to convert additional buses to propane autogas was an easy one,” said Tim Jones, executive analyst for DCS. “We have the infrastructure in place, making it a simple transition. We also live in the largest producing state of propane in the country. Therefore, we are helping our state economy, saving money for our taxpayers by reducing school transportation costs, and providing cleaner air for our students. It’s hard to argue with not investing in more autogas transportation for our schools.”
This project was funded through a $1 million grant from the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ (NCTCOG) Clean Fleets North Texas program, which was made possible largely through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds received from the State Energy Conservation Office. This grant also supports the efforts of the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities program, which is housed at NCTCOG.
Meanwhile, CleanFUEL USA provided the refueling infrastructure equipment through more than 37 new or expanded contracts with Texas independent school districts, including Austin, Houston and Arlington ISDs. Districts that will receive updated equipment include Alvin, Northside and Prosper ISDs. Collectively, these districts saved around $858,000 last year in transportation costs by using propane autogas, according to the CleanFUEL USA.
These contracts are affiliated with recent grants from the Department of Energy for $12.6 million and $3.1 million from the State Energy Conservation Office for vehicles and infrastructure. The grants are administered through the Railroad Commission of Texas, which lists all of the participating independent school districts that will receive new or updated equipment.
“Enabling our school buses to run on an alternative fuel that is nearly half the cost of gas and diesel, and is cleaner burning, is a no-brainer,” said Jim Abney, transportation director at Alvin Independent School District.