VENTURA, CA - The Ventura Unified School District on Jan. 26 unveiled its new $200,000 plug-in hybrid electric school bus that will be used to transport students. 

Built by the IC Bus subsidiary of Navistar, the bus replaces a 1977 model. The new bus is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack and is expected to improve fuel economy by up to 30 percent and reduce emissions by up to 40 percent over a gasoline-powered bus, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

"The bus reflects our commitment to being a green school district as we ensure safe and healthy learning environments for our students," said Trudy T. Arriaga, district superintendent. 

The district acquired the bus through the Plug-In Hybrid Electric School Bus Project, a national initiative. The Community Environmental Council applied for funding through the U.S. EPA and the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District. 

"Plug-in hybrids and electric cars are the largest revolution in a century of vehicles," said Michael Chiacos, transportation specialist with the Community Environmental Council in Santa Barbara. These vehicles "will help us transition to a future free from dependence on imported fossil fuels," he said.