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First school buses purchased from Volkswagen Settlement are propane-powered buses built by Blue Bird

Louisiana is the first state to release its Volkswagen settlement fund dollars, and Lafayette Parish Schools has become the first recipient. Given the choice between replacing aging diesel school buses with newer diesel models or with buses fueled by propane, this district to utilize funding from the state’s Environmental Mitigation Trust to purchase ten new Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses.

Since the VW settlement funding was approved, officials and districts alike have been determining where the dollars should go. Louisiana’s $18 million dollars are solely dedicated to the replacement of older diesel school buses over the next three years. Their school districts are given the option to replace these buses by utilizing the funds to cover 25% of the purchase cost of new diesel buses, or 50% of the purchase cost for new propane buses.

Last year, Blue Bird released the first propane engine (produced by Ford and powered by ROUSH CleanTech’s fuel system) in a school bus application certified at the low-NOx emissions level of 0.05 g/bhp-hr. Today, Blue Bird now offers an ultra-low emissions level option of 0.02g NOx, making the Blue Bird Vision Propane bus ten times cleaner than any other make of combustion-fueled school buses.

Reaching lower emission levels allows districts more opportunities to secure green-initiative grants, such as VW’s emissions settlement, as well as providing higher levels of funding for vehicles with low levels of NOx emissions.

Propane school buses have received heightened interest because of Volkswagen’s emissions settlement, after it was announced last year. The automaker’s $2.9-billion Environmental Mitigation Trust will fund actions that specifically reduce NOx emissions, and state after state are promoting alternative-fueled school buses in their funding models.

Today almost one million students ride to school in more than 14,000 Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses across the US.

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