WASHINGTON, D.C. — Omaha Public Schools (OPS) and Student Transportation Inc. (STI) collaborated on the district’s deployment of 435 Blue Bird Vision propane school buses last summer, and over the last year of operating the buses, OPS estimates it has saved $200,000-plus with propane autogas versus diesel.
That is a savings is equivalent to what the district would pay to hire four or five classroom teachers, according to district officials.
A ROUSH CleanTech case study shows how the buses have saved nearly 50% per gallon on fuel costs and cut emissions.
Currently, 96% of OPS’ school buses operate on propane, and the district has set a goal to become the first school district in the nation with a 100% propane autogas school bus fleet, according to ROUSH CleanTech.
In a new Straight Talk series video released last week by the Propane Education & Research Council, officials from OPS and the contractor explain why propane autogas is tailor-made for their buses and operations. Among topics covered in the video include ease and convenience of maintenance, cost savings, and performance of the buses in Nebraska’s frigid winters.
“In the cold weather, propane buses are extremely easier to deal with than diesels,” said Brian Urwin, shop manager for STI. “I didn’t have any problems all year long with the 435 propane autogas buses. They would fire up no matter how cold it was.”
Propane may be a viable option for certain fleets looking for an alternative fuel source. While converting a vehicle to a propane system comes with a high initial cost, the system may come with reduced lifecycle costs over the course of that vehicle's life.