Here’s a great story on the Mansfield (Texas) Independent School District using compressed natural gas (CNG) powered school buses. Charles Stone, Director of Transportation, says that Mansfield is using 20 CNG-fueled buses in a fleet of about 180 to serve the district of about 30,000 students and the vehicles have been a great success.
Stone not only points to the environmental impact, natural gas vehicles emit on average 70 percent fewer carbon emissions and sharply reduced emissions of other greenhouse gases, but also estimates the buses are getting eight miles to the equivalent of a gallon of diesel compared to five miles a gallon that his diesel-powered buses are getting. Reducing the time a driver would spend fueling a conventional diesel bus by 20 minutes is another added benefit.
Stone got the idea after doing some research on CNG initiatives on the west coast. “The guys in California were getting so much grant money, the buses were virtually free,” he recalled. “That got my interest. We started applying. Texas doesn’t have the same money that California has, but we were able to get these buses at somewhat of a discount over the equivalent diesel bus.”
The story also says that According to the Union of Concerned Scientists , 130 school districts in 17 states currently experiment with alternative fuel sources for their fleets and gives some great examples including:
- In Indiana, the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation deploys 140 natural gas buses. The district started converting its gasoline buses to natural gas in 1986 and says it recovered the conversion costs within the first year of operation.
- In Ardmore, Pennsylvania, the Lower Merion School District operates a fleet of 63 natural gas buses, for which it recently received the National Clean Cities Award.
- Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) received additional funding from South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) for 40 compressed natural gas buses. The district claims to have the largest CNG school bus fleet (173) in the state of California.
I’m constantly reading articles that talk about the benefits of natural gas powered vehicles, but especially in the area of fleets. Leave a comment on your experience if you’re using natural gas powered vehicles. I’d like to hear about it.