United States: pioneering school district expands LPG-powered bus fleet

The Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD) is replacing 20 of its older diesel school buses, which will be destroyed, with new vehicles powered by Autogas. This acquisition is the result of a memorandum of understanding between the 12,000-student school district and the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment’s Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Through this agreement, Arkansas DEQ will reimburse the PCSSD up to $1,960,000, or $98,000 per bus, to purchase up to 20 LPG-powered buses and scrap 20 diesel buses. This grant comes from the beneficiary disbursements from the Volkswagen Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust.

Eligible expenses include the purchase price of the new buses, delivery costs of the vehicles, the cost to scrap and dispose of the old buses being replaced and taxes, if applicable. Once the PCSSD has the Autogas school buses, it will have no more than 30 days to scrap the diesel buses. Each of the buses to be destroyed is 14 years old or older and has exceeded its life expectancy.

Charles Blake, the Pulaski County Special district’s director of transportation, was delighted with the news that the district had been selected for the $2 million bus plan, saying the grant will provide the district with 20 new buses that it would otherwise have to purchase with district funds. “This is a dream we have been working for the past four years,” Blake said.

The PCSSD already has some experience with the Autogas buses and supporting equipment because it had received similar but smaller grants in 2019 and 2021. Each of those grants enabled the district to purchase two LPG-fuelled buses for a total of four, starting the district’s clean-air program. It was the first school district in Arkansas to adopt Autogas buses. For more information, please visit this link.

Photo: PCSSD

4 January 2023