Nearly 1 Million Students Are Now Riding in Propane-Powered School Buses

School bus driver waving

With every passing year, more students are being transported to and from school in safe propane autogas school buses.

In fact, recent data compiled by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), shows that propane autogas school bus registrations in the U.S. have increased by 700% during a five-year period.

According to PERC, school buses powered by propane autogas now transport approximately 928,000 students every day at more than 840 public and private school districts in 48 states. In compiling these statistics, PERC used vehicle registration data from IHS Polk.

The report showed that the number of school buses powered by propane autogas in operation at the end of the first quarter of 2018 was more than 15,200 nationwide. In 2017 alone, approximately 90 new school districts and bus contractors transitioned to propane school buses for the first time.

“There’s a lot to like about propane school buses for community stakeholders and school officials, and school districts across the nation continue to take notice,” said Michael Taylor, director of autogas business development at PERC. “Compared to other fuels, propane school buses are quieter and offer reduced emissions, making them a better option for students, drivers and the community. Plus, they cost less for the district to operate, so schools can put more money back into the classroom where it helps students most.”

According to the latest registration data, 10 states – New York, Texas, California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Florida and Ohio—all now have more than 500 propane autogas school buses in operation.

Across the country, propane autogas school buses are most prominent in the Midwest, with about 4,000 propane-powered vehicles. The Northeast has about 3,000 propane buses on the road.

While transitioning a school bus fleet to propane requires careful planning and preparation, the end result is rewarding. Maintenance directors, technicians, drivers, students, and administrators are all among those on-board with the decision.

Propane school buses are easier to maintain and many of the costly repairs associated with keeping as diesel fleet running are removed when a transition to a propane bus fleet is made.

Lower maintenance requirements and more up-time on the route are two of the primary reasons propane school buses provide the lowest total cost-of-ownership throughout the 10- to 12-year lifespan of the bus.