Making a Difference (Extended Version)

Several school districts receive a grant for propane powered buses

Wayne Township is about to make a big effort in becoming a more environmentally conscientious school districts.

This fall the Office of Energy Development granted money to give seven school districts funds to host propane powered school buses. The total awarding for all the school districts was $275,430 to be used to purchase the new buses.

In addition to Wayne Township, the other school districts that were granted money to purchase these buses are DeKalb County Central United School District, Avon Community School Corporation, Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, North Spencer County School Corporation, Tippecanoe School Corporation, and Warrick County School Corporation.

Each district awarded money from the grant was required to apply for a minimum of two buses.  The maximum of award for each school district was $50,000.

The Office of Energy Development, also known as the OED, intends for the funds to help access propane powered buses to be a beneficial addition to their transportation. The benefits of having propane buses are both helpful for the students and the environment as a whole. These school buses help in the community and students alike, by decreasing school children’s exposure to harmful emissions, lowering maintenance costs through the use of a cleaner burning fuel and increasing fuel diversity.

On May 1 the township will receive 20 of the propane powered buses. These buses will be available to transport students at the beginning of the 2016 school year. What schools the buses will be serving is unsure right now because the route of the buses has yet to be determined.  However, there is a possibility that every school in the district will receive at least one bus.

According to Wayne Township director of transportation Janet Petrisin, the buses will help the environment by not contributing to air pollution.

“Propane is one of the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels” Petrisin said.

Propane differs from the diesel buses the township is already using because it causes no harm to groundwater, surface water, or soil . If Propane autogas leaks, it doesn’t puddle or leave residue, but instead vaporizes and dissipates into the air. Propane autogas is a nontoxic and non-corrosive fuel.

Petrisin says that in future they plan to make the entire fleet of buses propane powered. As of now the transportation department doesn’t anticipate for this change to be in full effect for a while.

“At this time, it is our plan to eventually replace the entire fleet with alternative fuel buses. “ Petrisin said. “This will most likely take 10 or more years to complete. “

The environment benefits are not the only advantage of moving to propane buses, they are also a cost effective change for the transportation department. Propane gas is less expensive at $1.19 a gallon as compared to diesel fuel which is approximately $2.50 a gallon.

Indianapolis as a whole has been making strides to become environmentally cautious city. This September Indianapolis launched Blue Indy car service, which is the largest electric car sharing service in the country. This and other projects are proving to be a smart move forward in creating not only greener communities, but a greener world for all to live in.