Boston Public Schools will operate 11% of its bus fleet with Blue Bird propane autogas buses, starting with the 2015-2016 school year. The school district is purchasing 86 Blue Bird Propane Vision school buses, and hopes to convert more of their diesel fleet to propane buses in the future.
Like many urban cities, Boston has implemented mandates for reducing tailpipe emissions. The school district, already the city’s largest user of diesel fuel, has enacted a number of emissions-reducing initiatives in the past 15 years through its “Greening Boston Public Schools” program. School buses fueled by propane autogas fit with their mission to choose vehicles with the highest efficiency and the lowest environmental emissions, according to Peter Crossan, fleet and compliance manager of Boston Public Schools.
The new buses, powered by a Ford V10 engine, each come equipped with a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system. The district’s autogas fleet will emit 66,000 fewer pounds of nitrogen oxide and 2,700 fewer pounds of particulate matter each year, when compared to the diesel buses they are replacing. Vehicles fueled by propane autogas emit 80% less smog-producing hydrocarbons and virtually eliminate particulate matter when compared to conventional diesel.
Boston Public Schools started exploring alternative fuels once the city’s outdated tunnel restrictions were lifted. About 40% of its fleet consists of 169-inch wheelbase buses. This smaller bus size meets the district’s need related to range and hours of service, which averages almost twice the national average on a daily basis, according to Crossan.
The 169-inch wheelbase bus is designed with a 50-gallon sized tank to accommodate shorter runs, and works well for Boston’s urban routes and special needs applications. This new autogas bus offering expands Blue Bird’s propane autogas portfolio, which also includes the 70-gallon standard and 100-gallon extended-range autogas tanks.
The school district also expects to save at least $1 per gallon on fuel as well as lower maintenance costs due to the cleaner burning properties of propane autogas.
To fuel the buses, Boston Public Schools has contracted with a company that performs on-site propane autogas fleet fueling services.
The school district will take delivery of the buses in June.