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Fleet of Clean-Operating Propane School Buses Roll into South Carolina

Blanchard Bus Centers delivers 26 new Blue Bird Vision Propane units to state of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (February 9, 2017) — The first of 26 propane-powered school buses were unveiled today 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 the buses 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% 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.”

About Blue Bird Corporation: Celebrating its 90th year in business, Blue Bird (Nasdaq: BLBD) is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses and related parts. As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative fuel applications with its propane-powered and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio. For more information on Blue Bird’s complete line of buses, visit www.blue-bird.com.

About Blanchard Machinery: Blanchard Machinery Company has been supplying South Carolina customers with earthmoving machines, engine services and power generation equipment since 1982. The family owned company, led by Joe Blanchard, has established retail and rental stores throughout the state which offer a wide range of brands of equipment, from full-sized bulldozers to small machine parts, and is South Carolina’s official Blue Bird school bus dealer. Blanchard Machinery has 13 total locations throughout the state representing three major groups: Machine, Power Systems and Peninsula Equipment. For more information about Blanchard Machinery and the Blue Bird bus offering, visit http://www.BlanchardPowerSystems.com/BlueBird.

About ROUSH CleanTech: ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of alternative fuel vehicle technology, is a division of ROUSH Enterprises based in Livonia, Michigan. ROUSH CleanTech designs, engineers, manufactures and installs propane autogas fuel system technology for medium-duty Ford commercial vehicles, and Type A and Type C Blue Bird school buses, and compressed natural gas fuel systems for Type C Blue Bird school buses. As a Ford QVM-certified alternative fuel vehicle manufacturer, ROUSH CleanTech delivers economical, clean and domestically produced fueling options for fleets across North America. Learn more at ROUSHcleantech.com or by calling 800.59.ROUSH.

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For more information:
Tracy Ruff | TSN Communications
tracy@tsncommunications.com
877.411.3243 ext. 809

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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