Funding is coming for green school buses

The EPA’s new program replaces old buses with more efficient models.

The EPA’s new program replaces old buses with more efficient models.

Currently, less than 1% of the ~480k school buses in the US are electric. To electrify 20% of them would cost $20B, making the EPA’s $5B Clean School Bus Program a small start — but a start nonetheless.

The program is accepting applications through Aug. 19, per Ars Technica, and will notify applicants in October.

Here’s how it works

Eligible applicants include state and local entities that provide bus service, such as public school districts, tribal organizations, and nonprofit school transportation associations.

Applicants agree to get rid of their operational and in-use diesel-powered or internal combustion engine buses. In exchange, the EPA will fund up to 25 replacement buses, including electric, propane, and compressed natural gas models.

So far, the EPA has set aside $500m for school buses in 2022, with $4.5B to come for 2023-2028.

More electrification is happening…

… at the state level. For example:

What are the benefits?

According to the EPA, pros of an electric fleet include:

  • No tailpipe pollution and reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Quieter rides
  • The potential to feed power back into local grids when buses aren’t in use and electric demand is high

Alternative fuel buses, such as propane and natural gas models, also come with potential reductions in tailpipe pollution and emissions, and can save money on fuel.

Fun fact: The official US school bus color is known as National School Bus Glossy Yellow. Dr. Frank W. Cyr selected it in his 42-page guide on how to make a safe school bus.

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