Alternative Fuel School Buses Give Florida School District a Real Return On Their Investment

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Indian River District Schools' purchase of Propane-Powered Blue Bird Vision school buses allows the Transportation Department to bring savings back to the district.

The buses are helping reduce dependency on foreign produced petroleum and replacing it with a domestically produced product that is significantly cheaper at the pump

Indian River District Schools received a $30,000 check in conjunction with their pursuit of alternative fuel school buses at their October 26th School Board Meeting. In the summer of 2009, Indian River received Propane-Powered Vision school buses from Blue Bird and Florida Transportation Systems, Inc. These alternative fuel buses have been running routes for almost a year now and the district is seeing significant results to their commitment of going green.

The $30,000 check reflects a tax credit that was passed from the seller of the vehicles, Florida Transportation Systems, back to the end user. The Propane-Powered Vision school bus is recognized by the IRS as a qualified alternative motor vehicle and allows for a tax credit based on the conversion costs. These quiet operating buses have seen extensive use over the last year and have operated exceptionally in their duties. One of the concerns with making a switch from diesel to alternative fuel was the potential of additional maintenance concerns. So far, the Transportation Department has seen much greater "up time" with these buses versus the other diesel units in the fleet. From a cost per mile standpoint, these buses will continue to produce real savings throughout their service to the district.

The Blue Bird Propane-Powered Vision utilizes a General Motors 8.1L gasoline engine that has been converted using CleanFUEL USA's Liquid Propane Injection System (LPI). These buses have seen outstanding success in several states including Texas, California and New York in addition to national contractors. The buses are helping reduce dependency on foreign produced petroleum and replacing it with a domestically produced fuel that is substantially cheaper at the pump. From an environmental standpoint, propane fueled vehicles produce significantly lower particulate, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbon and greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline or diesel engines - cutting some toxins and carcinogens up to 96% compared to gasoline.

Unlike "retrofit" systems of the past, this is a fully integrated and purpose-built Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) bus, engineered to the same exacting standards as other Blue Bird buses. Manufactured in Fort Valley, Georgia, the bus is delivered directly to the dealership with no additional aftermarket components needed. The Propane-Powered Vision meets Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) certification requirements for the 2010 production year. Designed and built for maximum quality and reliability, the unit meets all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Other Florida school districts also have an opportunity to jump on the alternative fuel bandwagon. Through their Department of Education's contract for school buses, the Blue Bird Propane-Powered Vision is often less expensive than the other manufacturer's standard diesel offerings. The economic entry price, combined with the lower fuel costs and environmental advantages, positions more school districts in the state to take advantage of alternative fuel school buses.

By making the change to Propane-Powered school buses, Indian River District Schools has already seen a healthy return on their investment.

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