South Carolina school districts speed up transition to Autogas


In Berkeley and Dorchester counties, the ride to school is a lot smoother and safer. The South Carolina Department of Education has awarded Berkeley County School District (BCSD) and Dorchester District 2 (DD2) a new, lower-emission school bus fleet powered by Autogas to replace a portion of their aging, diesel vehicles.

“The first Autogas school buses were unveiled at a ceremony at the Blanchard Machinery Co. in Summerville. In an effort to be more economically and environmentally responsible, the state of South Carolina has purchased these new Blue Bird Corporation Vision Propane school buses to replace old diesel buses,” said authorities from BCSD.

The 26 new buses come equipped with air conditioning and GPS technology. Each vehicle was purchased at a cost of $91,325 using funds allocated by the Legislature. DD2 received 10 of the new buses and the rest went to Berkeley. They started transporting students to and from school on 10 February.

“I think we are just setting the pace with Autogas and lots of different things that we need to do to conserve energy resources that we have and to protect the environment,” said Berkeley County Superintendent Brenda Blackburn.

Autogas vehicles emit negligible levels of health-damaging particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NOx) compared to diesel. They are also more economic to fuel. Blackburn added the diesel buses cost about 49 cents per mile, while the Autogas buses will cost 21 cents per mile – and that money could potentially go back into the classroom.