Another school district is one step closer to making the switch! The Houston Independent School District has recently been awarded $2.1 million dollars to switch part of its fleet of more than 1000 school buses to propane. On January 4, 2010 the district announced that HISD won funding through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, through the commission’s Clean Fleet program to help purchase 25 propane-fueled buses. HISD is one of four agencies receiving a grant this year. The money will cover 70 percent of the cost of the new propane buses as well as pay for a propane filling station.
HISD Manager, Special Trips & Projects, Paul Youngjohn stated, “Propane-fueled vehicles produce 30 to 90 percent less carbon monoxide, and about $0.50 percent fewer toxins and other smog-producing emissions than gasoline engines. In terms of cost, we will find out very quickly which is cheaper, or whether they’re about the same.”
The recently extended alternative fuel tax credit that saves 50 cents off a gallon of propane will help toward cost savings. Youngjohn stated, “We will look at all of our expenses, both from the infrastructure input, as well as the cost of the fuel, any additional or reduced maintenance that may be part of the propane buses.”
The HISD board will vote on whether to accept the grant for the propane buses at its next meeting on January 13th. If the grant is approved this month, the propane buses could be a part of the district’s fleet by the middle of the year. Congratulations Houston!