To the editor:
Thank you for publishing such an informative article written by Ashley Hodge on the choice Halifax County will soon make on propane or diesel fueled school buses.
As a native Virginian with many fond memories of the people and places around Halifax and South Boston, I appreciate the careful thought on how best to fuel student transportation.
As the leader of a group that advocates for innovative uses of propane in all markets, it is no surprise I would advocate for propane options.
When the students across America return to school this fall, over one million students will ride in 17,000 propane-powered busses across the country. Propane fueled student transportation is a fast growing market, because it saves money while dramatically improving the health of the students and the communities they serve.
This dramatic shift away from diesel, even “clean diesel,” is driven by emissions. Propane busses are much healthier environments than diesel busses because propane can be up to 94% lower in NOx emissions that are so harmful to lungs.
Propane is nearly absent particulate matter, a known carcinogen listed by the World Heath Organization. And now, according to a study by Georgia State on the effects of noise on children riding to school, children riding to school in propane busses are arriving to school ready to learn, getting into learning mode faster than others and actually testing better — Heathier, quieter and safer — all amazing benefits to propane.
In a community like Halifax County with abundant natural beauty, using a clean alternative fuel is the right choice for the environment inside the bus and outside the bus.
I wanted to address the economics mentioned in your article, as they are in direct conflict with any other published data I have seen.
In general, propane busses cost 30-50% less per mile than diesel — yes, I said less.
In an article published the same day as yours, Kansas City expected to save $500,000 per year on their most recent propane bus purchases over their diesel choices. You are welcome to verify that — a quick Google search will show many users talking openly about their savings in choosing propane fueled bus fleets.
The community in which you live and write about is a special place in Virginia. In choosing propane busses over diesel, the community is guaranteed quieter streets, healthier children and lower costs of operation that allow the school board to spend those savings on what matters most to educating the student of Halifax.
The choice of propane vs diesel is not really a choice – propane is the clear winner for student health, economic interests and environmental advocacy.
I welcome a chance to follow up on this in any way possible.
Thanks for your time.
Propane Education and Research Council