LISD adds to eco-friendly bus fleet: 24 new propane-powered vehicles join the lineup

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The yellow Leander ISD school buses are going green.

Twenty-four new buses, fueled by propane autogas, are a part of the bus lineup for the 2016-17 school year. The district retired 20 diesel buses in exchange for 20 new emission-reducing models in early August. Four propane-powered special education buses are on their way this month. This brings LISD’s total number of propane models to 64.

According to district officials, the school district received a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality financial grant that rebated 60 percent of the purchase price.

“These buses will lead LISD to a brighter future by helping to decrease our carbon footprint,” Steve Stripling, director of transportation for the district, said. “Our older diesel buses didn’t run as clean, and it was time to replace them with propane technology that will reduce emissions out of the tailpipe. Our school district is a steward of our environment and seeks the best options for the health and safety of our students and community.”  

The new Blue Bird Vision Propane buses are powered with Ford Motor Company’s 6.8L V10 engine equipped by a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system. These vehicles will reduce annual nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by over 31,200 pounds, and particulate matter emissions by over 635 pounds, compared with the diesel buses. 

“In addition to the propane buses being a good environmental choice, they are also a good economic choice,” Brian Carney, executive director of school bus sales and customer support for ROUSH CleanTech, said. “LISD won’t have to spend additional time and money on preventative maintenance that’s needed for newer technology diesel buses.“

Carney said propane buses eliminate the need for diesel exhaust after-treatment systems and other expensive maintenance items due to the clean-burning property of the fuel.

Leander ISD pays 73 cents per gallon for propane autogas compared with $1.50 per gallon for diesel. Last year, the school district received a 50-cent-per-gallon federal tax rebate and anticipates a 36-cent-per-gallon rebate this school year.

  “In LISD, we constantly look for ways to give our taxpayers a return on their investment, as well as to provide the safest and cleanest burning technology as possible,” said Stripling. “We firmly feel that the purchase of our propane fleet meets this goal.”

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