Michigan’s Largest Fleet of Propane Autogas Buses to Drive Metro Detroit Schools’ Students

ABC rolls out school buses powered by emission-reducing, affordable alternative fuel

Beginning this school year, many Metro Detroit students will ride to and from school in cleaner-operating buses fueled by propane autogas. The35 alternative-fueled Blue Bird Vision Propane buses will lower costs while improving the environment by reducing Detroit’s carbon footprint.

This is the largest fleet of propane autogas school buses in the state of Michigan.

“The use of propane autogas school buses is a step in the right direction to significantly decrease vehicle emissions and improve the air quality for our students. This also provides opportunities for students and the community to observe and learn first-hand about alternative transportation technologies,” said James Minnick, executive director of DPS Office of Student Transportation. “This environmentally friendly green initiative has also resulted in having a bus fleet that is 30 percent brand new.”

ABC, chose buses fueled by propane autogas because of the buses’ advanced technology, environmental benefits, and fuel and maintenance cost reductions, according to ABC Student Transportation president Charlie Grant.

“The adoption of propane autogas buses shows ABC Student Transportation’s commitment to implement buses powered by a fuel that is cleaner for Detroit’s students and the community, lowers operating costs, and is domestically produced,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird. “This is a great example of how the city of Detroit is being innovative in everything they do.”

The new Blue Bird buses are equipped with an efficient Ford 6.8L V10 engine powered by ROUSH Clean Techpropane autogas fuel systems. Historically, propane autogascosts about 50 percent less than diesel per gallon and reduces maintenance costs due to its clean-operating properties. Currently, ABC pays 74 cents per gallon for propane autogas compared with around $3.00 per gallon for diesel.

In addition to fuel cost savings, the 35 propane autogas bus fleet will emit 12,445 fewer pounds of nitrogen oxide and 111 less pounds of particulate matter each year compared with the diesel buses they are replacing. Propane autogas also reduces hydrocarbon emissions and virtually eliminates particulate matter, when compared with conventionally fueled school buses.

“Propane autogas powered school buses offer advanced fuel technology for school districts looking for more efficient operation while experiencing a positive return on investment,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech.
Propane autogas is the most commonly used alternative fuel in the nation and worldwide. Vehicles fueled by autogas comply with the same safety standards as their conventionally fueled counterparts.

“Together with Blue Bird, Ford and ROUSH CleanTech, we are able to provide world class technology and comfort to our customers throughout Metro Detroit,” said Grant.