United States: Iowa shifts away from diesel school buses

Research shows school buses nationwide emit up to 8.4 million metric tonnes of CO2 each year, which is roughly equivalent to the CO2 produced by a single vehicle driven more than 21 million miles. In light of these statistics, there is a growing demand to consider eco-friendly alternative options to school buses, which traditionally run on diesel.

In this regard several school districts in the state of Iowa, whose fleet has nearly 3,000 school buses, are shifting away from diesel vehicles. “I think we can all agree that we want cleaner air for children, for vulnerable people, for everybody,” said Karin Stein, Iowa Organizer for Moms Clean Air Force.

About 250,000 Iowa students ride the bus to and from school every day. In recent years, some schools in the state have transitioned to clean Autogas. More specifically, 322 school buses in 56 Iowa school districts are powered by LPG.

For example, Nevada Community School District added LPG-powered buses to its fleet four years ago and plans to add more in the future. “It is so smooth and quiet,” said Jason Sampson, Director of Transportation for the Nevada Community School District. “It does make some noise when you accelerate, but nothing compared to what a diesel bus does.”

One of the primary reasons for the upgrade is the amount of money saved in fuel and maintenance over time. “You do pay just a little bit more than a diesel bus, but in the long run you save close to $30,000 per unit,” commented Sampson.

Moms Clean Air Force urges schools to look at the big picture rather than just the upfront costs, and encourages them to apply for federal aid made available through the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act. “We cannot afford not to fight the climate because the cost of not doing so far outweighs the cost of whatever we’re saving short term,” added Stein.

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5 January 2022