Fleet of Clean-Operating Propane School Buses Rolls Into South Carolina
Columbia, S.C. — The first of 26 propane-powered school buses were unveiled yesterday at a ceremony in Summerville. In an effort to be more economically and environmentally responsible, the state of South Carolina has purchased these new Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses to replace aging diesel buses. The alternative-fueled buses will be deployed to service Dorchester and Berkeley counties tomorrow.
“While the South Carolina Department of Education is a low-bid state, we had heard about the propane technology that Blue Bird propane buses possess from various sources,” said Mike Bullman, director of maintenance for South Carolina Department of Education. “With aging diesel buses in our fleet, it was time to replace them and propane was the option we thought worked best financially and environmentally speaking over the long-term.”
These clean-operating propane buses represent the largest order of alternative-fueled school buses that the state has placed in the last 30 years. The buses were purchased from Blue Bird's newest dealership in North America, Blanchard Bus Centers.
“We’re pleased to offer alternative fuel options for school buses,” said Joe Blanchard, president of Blanchard Bus Centers. “We believe the state of South Carolina will begin to see immediate benefits from these new ‘clean’ buses. The financial savings should be noticeable from the beginning. An average propane bus saves a school district up to $3,500 per year in fuel costs alone.”
The Blue Bird Vision Propane buses emit 80 percent fewer smog-producing hydrocarbons and virtually eliminate particulate matter when compared with conventional diesel. These buses will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by over 40,600 pounds and particulate matter by more than 825 pounds each year compared with the diesel buses being replaced. Equipped with Ford Motor Company’s 6.8L V10 engine, each bus is powered by a ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel system.
“Propane autogas is a proven alternative fuel option for school districts,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing at ROUSH CleanTech. “This domestic fuel also produces far less particulate matter and NOx emissions than diesel, so the buses don’t require expensive and difficult to maintain after-treatment components to make them run clean.”
Blue Bird Corporation, the manufacturer of these buses, says that propane power is a perfect match for school buses, and the school districts in the state.
“Sales of the Vision Propane bus increased 33 percent in 2016 when compared to 2015, and it’s no surprise to us,” said Blue Bird’s Chief Commercial Officer Mark Terry. “These buses clearly work to save districts money, and are incredibly environmentally friendly. We are glad to see that South Carolina has added this amazing product to their fleet. We know they will not be disappointed.”