Donation recognizes Kyrene Elementary School District for improving student health and safety with a propane-powered bus fleet
PHOENIX (September 30, 2015) – The Propane Education & Research Council donated $2,500 to Kyrene Monte Vista Elementary School Wednesday in recognition of the school district’s efforts to improve students’ health and safety by adopting a propane-fueled bus fleet. The donation is part of the commodity checkoff program’s new campaign to educate parents and community members about the benefits of transitioning away from diesel and other dirty fuels.
“Diesel has long been the standard in school transportation, but for districts that want to reduce harmful emissions, save money and create a safer, healthier ride, propane is an excellent alternative,” said Roy Willis, PERC president and CEO.
Last year Kyrene Elementary School District replaced 37 diesel buses with Thomas Built propane models. Facilities and Transportation Director Eric Nethercutt says that cost savings on both fuel and maintenance played a big role in the department’s decision to go with propane.
“We began looking at propane autogas as an alternative fuel about two years ago when diesel pricing was really high,” said Nethercutt. “The price point for propane was very attractive compared to diesel. Another major consideration was the cost and maintenance problems associated with maintaining all of the advanced emissions equipment on diesel buses. Once we start buying propane auto-gas in bulk we are hoping to see a price decrease down into the low $1.00 per gallon range.”
According to PERC, aside from serious cost-saving benefits, propane buses reduce exposure to diesel exhaust, which the World Health Organization classifies as a carcinogen.. They also run quieter than diesel, allowing drivers to better monitor passengers’ activity.
“Having a quiet bus is very helpful when dealing with a bus full of students,” said Nethercutt. “It makes conversations and interactions easier on everyone.”
Recognizing these same benefits, schools across 45 states – a total of more than 7,000 buses – have transitioned to propane. Twenty of the top 25 designated market areas and four of the 10 largest school districts in the country are now using them. The trend prompted PERC to launch an awareness campaign early this fall to teach communities about the benefits of propane-powered transportation. The Council has partnered with journalist and former teacher Jenna Bush Hager and the nonprofit Adopt a Classroom to donate more than $30,000 nationwide to teachers at schools adopting propane buses.
“It’s clear when you talk to school administrators and transportation departments that they are saving more than just dollars and cents by going with propane buses,” said Hager. “The switch is improving their school as a whole and giving them the opportunity to invest in other areas, like hiring teachers or improving the classroom.”
For more information on propane school buses, including bus safety tips for parents and kids courtesy of the National Association of Pupil Transportation, visitBetterOurBuses.com. To donate to teachers in your local community, visitAdoptAClassroom.org.
About PERC: The Propane Education & Research Council is a nonprofit established, operated, and funded by the propane industry. PERC leads safety and training efforts and drives technology development to expand the adoption of propane as a clean, domestic, and affordable energy source. PERC programs benefit a variety of markets including transportation, agriculture, landscaping, residential, and commercial. For more information about propane-powered technologies, equipment incentives, and PERC, visitpropanecouncil.org.