New 'green' buses in East Texas school district's fleet

By Jamey Boyum - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - "It is my pleasure to give you this check for $61,890 to help you get going in terms of your commitment to propane," said Michael Williams, a Texas Railroad Commisioner.

With that big incentive check from the Texas Railroad Commission, Lindale was the first East Texas school district to start converting their buses to propane. It burns cleaner, drastically reducing nitrogen oxide waste, and has only 1% of the particulate emissions of its older cousin, the diesel bus. It's sort of like the bus...quit smoking. The district also receives a $.50 per gallon federal tax credit, reducing the district's fuel cost from $1.73 a gallon to $1.01. That's significant. But, what about safety? The kids will be riding with a pressurized fuel tank full of flammable gas.

"Dallas County ISD probably has the largest propane fleet in the state," said Wiilliams. "A couple years ago one of their propane busses was struck from the side by a pick-up truck, right on the propane tank. You want to know what happened? The truck was smashed. The propane tank was just fine."

The tank is protected by a re-enforced steel cage making it nearly impossible to puncture. And, the engine noise?

"It doesn't seem like a bus," said bus driver, Larry Ward. "It's so quiet!"

It's quiet, it's clean, it's safe, it's saving money and it has one more perk that has kids clamoring to be on one of the three new bus' routes...air conditioning.

The school district plans on using the buses on their longest routes to get the most out of their money.

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