Newport News Public Schools Adds Clean-Operating, Propane-Fueled Blue Bird School Buses

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School district adds 24 alternatively fueled Blue Bird buses powered by ROUSH CleanTech fuel systems, cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the Tidewater area.

From left to right : Shay Coates – Director of Transportation, Nancy Tarr – Bus Driver , Marion Walker – Bus Assistant, James Riddick- Operations Supervisor.

From left to right : Shay Coates – Director of Transportation, Nancy Tarr – Bus Driver , Marion Walker – Bus Assistant, James Riddick- Operations Supervisor.

Propane autogas is the best choice for Newport News Public Schools because it’s economical, safe, environmentally friendly and offers many bus maintenance advantages.

For more than a decade, Newport News Public Schools has increased its focus on environmentally friendly and practical actions that reduce carbon emissions and ensure energy efficiency. The purchase of 24 Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses supports this initiative by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by nearly 30,000 pounds and particulate matter by over 760 pounds each year compared with the diesel buses being replaced.
 
“Propane autogas is the best choice for Newport News Public Schools because it’s economical, safe, environmentally friendly and offers many bus maintenance advantages,” said Shay Coates, director of transportation for Newport News Public Schools. “After two years of attending trade shows, meeting with bus manufacturers, and talking with colleagues in school districts that operate alternative fuel buses, we knew this was the direction we wanted to pursue. The benefits of propane, in comparison to diesel, made it an easy choice for the school district.”

Currently, Newport News Public Schools pays 45 percent less for propane per gallon compared with diesel. Propane also reduces maintenance costs due to its clean-operating properties, and is the most commonly used alternative fuel in the world. More than 90 percent of the U.S. propane supply is sourced from North American reserves, boosting the national economy and passing savings on to school districts nationwide.

“Newport News Public Schools’ decision to run propane-powered buses is an environmental and cost-effective commitment to the Tidewater area’s students and community,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation.

The new propane buses have positively impacted the schools’ bus drivers. Rosalind McCauley, an 18-year veteran driver, said the new propane-fueled buses ride smoother and make less noise, allowing her to hear the students better. Driver Halle Washington said that the propane bus is so quiet that “at first I wasn’t even sure if it was running.” These propane-fueled buses reduce noise levels by about half compared to a diesel engine.

“Propane-powered school buses offer tangible benefits to school districts like Newport News Public Schools looking for ways to reduce fleet operating costs while reducing their environmental impact,” said Brian Carney, executive director of school bus and customer success for ROUSH CleanTech.

Equipped with Ford Motor Company’s 6.8L V10 engine, each bus is powered by a ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel system. The Blue Bird Vision Propane buses emit 80 percent fewer smog-producing hydrocarbons and virtually eliminate particulate matter when compared with diesel. ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel systems are Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board certified. Now in their fourth generation, Blue Bird’s Vision Propane buses have grown in number since their start 20 years ago — over 9,500 propane buses have been produced.

In 2016, Newport News Public Schools earned platinum certification through the Virginia School Boards Association’s Green School Challenge for encouraging environmental policies and practical actions that reduce carbon emissions and increase environmental awareness.

Newport News Public Schools took delivery of the Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses in February.

About Newport News Public Schools: The Newport News Public Schools division educates approximately 29,400 children in five early childhood centers, 24 elementary schools, seven middle schools, five high schools, one middle/high combination school and nine program sites. With a new early learning curriculum designed to boost literacy and math instruction, state-of-the art science labs and advanced educational technology, NNPS has the tools to ensure student and teacher success. For more information, visit the NNPS website.

About Blue Bird Corporation: Celebrating their 90th year in business, Blue Bird (Nasdaq: BLBD) is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses and related parts. As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative fuel applications with its propane-powered and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio. For more information on Blue Bird’s complete line of buses, visit http://www.blue-bird.com.

About ROUSH CleanTech: ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of alternative fuel vehicle technology, is a division of ROUSH Enterprises based in Livonia, Michigan. ROUSH CleanTech designs, engineers, manufactures and installs propane autogas fuel system technology for medium-duty Ford commercial vehicles, and Type A and Type C Blue Bird school buses, and compressed natural gas fuel systems for Type C Blue Bird school buses. As a Ford QVM-certified alternative fuel vehicle manufacturer, ROUSH CleanTech delivers economical, clean and domestically produced fueling options for fleets across North America. Learn more at ROUSHcleantech.com or by calling 800.59.ROUSH.

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