Yellow is the New Green in Crittenden County

School Board Welcomes More Propane School Buses

Wayne Winters shows off Crittenden County's new propane-fueled school bus.
Wayne Winters shows off Crittenden County’s new propane-fueled school bus.

It’s not every day you see someone eating popcorn beside a tailpipe, but that’s exactly what Crittenden County Schools lead vehicle mechanic, Wayne Winters, did to demonstrate how clean the propane autogas that fuels their new school buses is.  Compared to their diesel counterparts, the propane buses produce no particulate matter and have 98% less nitrogen oxides emissions – pollution that is linked to increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and respiratory problems.  

The purchase of the new school buses was made possible by funding through the Kentucky Division for Air Quality’s (DAQ’s) Clean Diesel Grant Program, a competitive grant of federal funding to reduce diesel emissions in the Commonwealth.

WP_20140930_013Last year, the Crittenden County Board of Education was selected to receive $80,000 towards the purchase of the first propane school bus for student transportation in the state and the purchase and installation of emissions-capturing devices for fourteen of their diesel school buses.  The data calculated from operating the propane bus was so impressive, the Crittenden County Board of Education decided to expand their propane school bus fleet by purchasing two more of the vehicles.

Crittenden County's new propane school buses (foreground) replaced several older diesel models, seen in the background.
Crittenden County’s new propane school buses (foreground) replaced several older diesel models, seen in the background.

Then, when Clean Diesel funding became available again this year, the Crittenden County Board of Education applied for — and were awarded — approximately $95,000 in grant funds to be used towards the purchase of four more propane school buses, bringing their number of propane school buses to seven.  “The division is excited to be a part of this wonderful project to reduce the pollution in the air these school children breathe almost every day,” said DAQ director Sean Alteri.

Not only is propane a much cleaner fuel than diesel, but the propane buses are easier and cheaper to fuel and maintain. And thanks to a contract with a local propane supplier, the school district enjoyed low, fixed fuel prices and uninterrupted delivery through the entire school year. Crittenden County’s own data from last year show that operating and maintaining one propane school bus compared to a diesel school bus saved the district nearly $5000.  Now that their fleet has expanded to seven propane school buses, the annual savings will really add up.

With cleaner emissions and impressive cost savings, school districts across the state are lining up to purchase propane school buses. Crittenden County Schools are blazing a trail for cleaner air in Kentucky.