Fuel for Thought

Buses or Books? I Choose Both

April 6, 2015

by Joe Thompson - Also by this author

I’ve got two boys in public school. Their education is vital to me.

There’s no question that the buses they ride to school in are important, too.

But, with the harsh reality of cutbacks nationwide, many schools are facing the choice between buying buses or investing in staff, facilities, or even books. This year alone, 68 percent of the nation’s school districts plan to purchase new school buses. That’s a decision few schools can put off.

That’s why many schools choose alternative fuels to power their school bus fleet — so that they can have both. A recent report from the U.S. Energy Department summarizes the use of an alternative fuel (in this case, propane autogas) in five school districts. Some of these districts saved nearly 50 percent on a cost per mile basis operating their buses with propane autogas instead of diesel.

That’s a lot left over for books, teachers, and educational enhancements.

And, here’s something else that’s important to me as a parent — switching to an alternative fuel means a cleaner environment. In 2012, the World Health Organization classified diesel exhaust from buses manufactured prior to 2007 as a carcinogen that can have long-term health effects, especially on children. By comparison, an alternative fuel such as propane autogas has 80 percent less hydrocarbon emissions and virtually no particulate emissions.

Here’s your fuel for thought: Consider clean-burning, economical alternatives to fuel your buses. Save on fleet costs and put the money back where it belongs — in the classroom.

And, if you’re a parent, contact your school board to discuss your district’s fleet purchases.
Your kids will thank you.

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