800px-School_bus_invasionGoddard, Kansas, just outside of Wichita is using alternative fuels to power some of their buses in the Goddard school district. Instead of the standard diesel being used, five of their buses will now be running on propane fuel. Propane is a form of liquefied petroleum gas that is cleaner burning than diesel fuels and costs less too. The buses were ordered last May and rolled out this year for a trial run. The diesel costs were a little over 3 dollars a gallon where the cost of propane is a more manageable price of just under a dollar fifty. The maintenance cost for the propane buses is also comparable to that of the diesel-run vehicles. If all goes well, more of these buses will be implemented into the school district’s fleet in the coming years.

There are also other options available for alternative fuel for vehicles. Ethanol comes from corn and other crops. Biodiesel comes from vegetables oils and animal fats. Hydrogen fuel is produced from fossil fuels, renewable resources, and other fuels. Natural gas is another source of alternative fuel that can be used to power various vehicles. These options create less pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.

Using propane for school buses not only cuts down on the emissions from driving around and picking up children it also helps when buses are outside the schools idling and waiting for their passengers to be released or in line to be let out and head back onto the road again during the school day. The buses are also quieter as well.

According to Fleet Owner, “unlike oil, propane production is heavily concentrated in the U.S., Donaldson (CleanFuel USA president & CEO) said, with about 80% of the global supply in the U.S. and another 10% in Canada…” This is a welcome fact for many of those who are worried about the dependency on foreign sources of fuel and how long those connections will remain strong. While the cost of propane is on the rise, it is nowhere near that of gasoline. Whether the price will stay that way is one thing, but for now it is a viable alternative to standard forms of fuel. Until then, there is no reason to throw money out in the dumpster with the rest of the trash.

Other school districts across the country have implemented these propane-run school buses, but Goddard, outside of Wichita, Kansas, is the most recent to try out this cleaner form of fuel. As with other environmental practices, this will hopefully catch on and lead to more efficient programs when it comes to transportation. Clean-air buses are in cities for public transportation, why not adding them to the school bus force as well?

Picture via Andrei Niemimäki