CleanFUEL USA and Collins Bus Corporation today 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.
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.
The Collins propane powered NEXBUS used by First Student is Collins’ latest design, offering superior strength and safety through innovative features such as 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 6.0 liter 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 and the California Air Resources Board.
CleanFUEL USA, along with the DOE, Collins Bus Corporation and First Student, will hold a check presentation and media event for the Portland and Seattle Public Schools at Jefferson High School in Portland on Thursday, November 15 at 10 a.m. PST. The event is open to the public.
Propane autogas is the third most widely used transportation fuel globally, behind gasoline and diesel, and is proven to be a more attractive option from an economic and environmental standpoint. As the lowest greenhouse gas emitting fuel, propane autogas averages 40 to 50 percent less emissions than gasoline and diesel per gallon. There are more than 52,000 propane autogas refueling stations and 17 million propane-powered vehicles worldwide.
“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.”
-- Teri Brady, Interim Director of Student Transportation, Portland Public Schools
“This grant was used by First Student to off-set the purchase price of clean, propane 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. First Student is proud of our relationship with Seattle and Portland Public Schools and we look forward to providing the best in school bus services. As the largest operator of alternate fuel school buses, we truly appreciate our partnership with Collins Bus and their efforts to secure this grant through Clean FUEL USA.”
-- Cal Hull, senior vice president for First Student
“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.”
-- Kent Tyler, president of Collins Bus Corporation
“The partnership between Clean FUEL USA, Collins and First Student is one that will prove to be advantageous to the Portland and Seattle school systems, as the autogas buses provide many benefits. Through the use of these buses, the school districts will save thousands of dollars on fuel and maintenance costs while reducing their environmental footprint – both of which also benefit the local communities.”
-- Curtis Donaldson, founder and CEO of CleanFUEL USA