Press Releases

First Alternative-Fueled School Bus Rolls into West Virginia

Monongalia County Schools adds a Blue Bird propane-powered school bus to its fleet

Morgantown, West Virginia, August 10, 2015 (Nasdaq: BLBD) – Many school districts across the nation are implementing a cleaner, lower total cost of ownership solution for their school transportation needs with Blue Bird propane autogas school buses. Monongalia County Schools is the first in West Virginia to reduce emissions and experience the savings other districts have experienced through its purchase of the Blue Bird Propane-Powered Vision from their local dealer, Blue Bird Bus Sales of West Virginia.

“We are thrilled to introduce this new product into our fleet,” said Jeff Meadows, Assistant Superintendent of Transportation. “It is a first, not only for our district, but also for the entire state of West Virginia. I believe after one year of service we will start to see more Blue Bird propane-powered school buses in fleets across the state.”

Sales of Blue Bird propane buses are beginning to outpace traditional school bus sales, as customers are realizing the environmental and cost savings benefits, along with a quieter ride for the driver and passengers. School districts that have replaced older diesel buses in their fleets with propane autogas buses are experiencing a combined savings in maintenance and fuel costs from $4,000-$5,000 per bus, per year.

On average, a gallon of propane autogas fuel costs about half that of diesel and is a clean-burning fuel.

“The beauty of propane buses is not only the lower cost of the fuel itself, but also the lack of additional parts to make these buses compliant with EPA emissions standards,” says Trey Jenkins, VP of Alternative Fuels at Blue Bird Corporation. “Fewer parts mean lower maintenance costs. Propane is a very clean fuel, making it not only environmentally friendly, but also easier on the engine, transmission and fuel system of the bus.”

The school district has a contract with its propane provider that allows them to roll in the cost of the fueling infrastructure with the price of the fuel. They currently have two 1,000 gallon propane tanks installed at their location to fuel their fleet.

“It was very easy to get the infrastructure for this vehicle installed,” says Jeff Meadows. “They rolled the price of the infrastructure into the cost of the fuel, which will save the school district thousands of dollars when compared with infrastructure costs for other fuel types.”

The Blue Bird propane-powered Vision runs on an exclusive Ford 6.8L V10 engine and 6R140 transmission powertrain, specifically designed to work in unison, creating a best-in class propane-powered bus. This proven powertrain has tallied over 60 million miles with Blue Bird propane autogas school buses.

“Monongalia County has chosen an alternative fuel that is clean, economical and domestically produced,” said Phil Horlock, President and CEO of Blue Bird. “School districts around the nation are reducing their operating costs and lowering their carbon footprint with our class-leading propane autogas system.”

Monongalia will start running their propane school bus on the first day of school this year.

As a Blue Bird customer for over 25 years, our district has a solid Blue Bird fleet of the Vision, All American and Micro Bird buses. We choose to standardize our fleet to solely Blue Bird because of the quality of the buses. Our Blue Bird school buses are dependable, our drivers love driving the buses and we receive excellent parts and service support from Blue Bird and our local dealer, New York Bus Sales.
Fred Paye
Director of Transportation
Hilton Central School District
Hilton, NY

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