Michigan school district purchases low-emission school buses - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions  -  February 16, 2021

Michigan school district purchases low-emission school buses

Michigan’s Livonia Public Schools District announced on Feb. 16 that it has added 22 Blue Bird propane autogas-fueled buses to its fleet with funding received from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).  To date, EGLE has provided grants to 69 school districts to replace over 300 school buses.

The district turned to propane after dealing with the costly and complex emission systems required on diesel buses. The new Blue Bird Vision Propane buses don’t require any additional emission maintenance. They are 75% cleaner than federal emissions standards, emitting fewer total hydrocarbons and virtually eliminating particulate matter.

“With our new Blue Bird propane buses, the school district saves money, our students get a safe, quieter bus and our community gets a cleaner environment,” Rick Martin, fleet garage supervisor for Livonia Public Schools, said in a statement. “We think our Livonia Public Schools parents will be impressed by this big step, and they’ll be interested to know that these propane fuel systems are manufactured right here in Livonia by ROUSH CleanTech.”

The district was granted $844,386.40 through EGLE’s Fuel Transformation Program which uses Volkswagen settlement funds to purchase clean, cost-effective propane school buses that began operation when Michigan schools opened for the 2020-21 school year.

Propane school buses reduce harmful nitrogen oxides by 96%, according to a 2019 study by West Virginia University. Exposure to nitrogen oxide exhaust can have negative health effects on children and is a leading cause of asthma, according to the EPA.

“EGLE recognizes children’s vulnerability to diesel exhaust and the importance of replacing old diesel school buses with new low emission school buses,” Debra Swartz, fuel transportation program manager for EGLE, which serves as the state’s lead agency for the Volkswagen settlement funds, said in the statement. “Reducing air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides is a goal of the Fuel Transformation Program along with increasing the adoption of alternate fuel and zero-emission vehicles. Projects such as Livonia Public Schools to replace old diesel school buses with new propane buses aligns perfectly with these goals.”

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