ACT Expo 2013
Roush Blue Birds for Tippecanoe School
The Lafayette, Ind.-based Tippecanoe School Corp has saved more than $10,000 on just five propane autogas school buses, the Propane Education & Research Council reports, noting that TSC serves 19 schools covering 465 square miles and owns 160 buses transporting some 12,000 students daily, accumulating a million miles of travel per school year.
High fuel costs were a prevailing concern, PERC says. “Our fuel budget usually takes a big hit with the up and down diesel prices, and we pay anywhere from $3.60 to $4.00 a gallon for diesel,” TSC transportation director Kevin Neafie says in a PERC case study. “When budgeting fuel, sometimes we’re already in the red by the third quarter.”
After researching alt fuel options, Neafie bought five 78-passenger Type C Blue Bird Vision school buses, their 6.8-liter Ford engines fitted with Roush CleanTech autogas fuel systems.
“Before tax credits, we pay nearly half the price of diesel for propane, cutting our fuel expenditures by more than 50%,” Neafie said. “So far we’ve saved $10,000 on the five Blue Bird buses alone.”
“In addition to the significant fuel-cost savings,” says the PERC report, “the school district estimates a savings in maintenance costs. Over the estimated 18-year lifetime of each bus, the district will save $5,955, totaling $29,775 for its current fleet of propane autogas buses.”
A combination of grants, tax incentives and credits helped TSC lower the acquisition cost. McAllister Power Systems, the dealer that sold TSC the Blue Bird buses, credited the district $5,000 toward each vehicle, amounting to $25,000 in up-front savings. The district also received a $52,600 grant from the Indiana Department of Energy, which Neafie said helped the district buy the buses “practically debt-free.”
TSC is also taking advantage of alt fuel and infrastructure tax credits through the federal American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The organization qualifies for a credit up to 30% of the cost of its refueling dispenser and a credit of $.50 per gallon on fuel, PERC says.
Also according to the PERC study, diesel engine manufacturers have introduced lower-emission models.
“We’ve had issues with the new diesel buses, mainly with the exhaust gas recirculation implementation, loss of power and burn-off issues,” Neafie said. “The propane buses have simply performed better.”
PERC is at Booth 401. Roush CleanTech is at Booth 419.