GEORGETOWN, TEXASCleanFUEL USA and Collins Bus Corporation announced the delivery of 134 propane autogas school buses to First Student, Inc., the largest provider of student transportation services in North America. The buses will be used by First Student to provide bus service to Seattle Public Schools and Portland Public Schools.

“Portland Public Schools has been committed to propane fuel since the early 1980’s. That commitment is now easier to maintain with manufacturers like Collins Bus Corp and CleanFUEL USA allowing us to purchase factory-built propane fueled buses directly from the manufacturer. Using propane results in significant savings for the district because it is less expensive than gasoline, plus it is burns cleaner with lower maintenance costs. And because of the lower greenhouse emissions; our students, community and the environment benefit from cleaner air. It’s clearly a win-win situation,” said Teri Brady, interim director of student transportation, Portland Public Schools.

The purchase of the buses was made possible through a grant provided by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), as part of a national effort to establish networks of propane autogas refueling stations and incentivize the use of propane powered vehicles. Through this effort, the DOE estimates millions of gallons of petroleum will be displaced annually, thereby reducing the country’s dependence on imported petroleum products. First Student received a grant of $890,000 toward the purchase of 89 buses placed in service for Portland Public Schools and $450,000 for 45 buses to be used in Seattle.

“This grant was used by First Student to off-set the purchase price of clean, propane autogas-powered buses for use under our contracts with Seattle and Portland Public Schools. These buses greatly benefit the school systems by providing lower operating costs and reduced emissions,” said Cal Hull, senior vice president for First Student.

The Collins propane autogas-powered NEXBUS used by First Student is Collins’ latest design, which features high-strength tube steel roof bows and increased driver visibility. The NEXBUS is Altoona-tested and certified and meets or exceeds all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) certifications for school transportation, including the highest standards for fuel system integrity. The bus is built on a dual rear-wheel GM chassis, utilizing the GM 6.0L engine. It exhibits an estimated range in excess of 300 miles and is available in capacities up to 32 passengers. The propane autogas fuel system was developed in partnership with CleanFUEL USA and has obtained certification from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

 “We’re pleased to be delivering these propane buses to First Student and applaud their efforts to embrace this environmentally friendly solution. Clean Fuel USA helped us become the first Type A manufacturer to offer a propane engine option over three years ago and we have delivered hundreds of these advanced technology buses to progressive school districts and contractors,” said Kent Tyler, president of Collins Bus Corporation.

According to Curtis Donaldson, founder and CEO of CleanFUEL USA, the use of these buses will save the school districts thousands of dollars on fuel and maintenance costs while reducing their environmental footprint.