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Lesson of propane-powered school buses: Everybody wins | READER COMMENTARY

The director of transportation for Newport News, Virginia public schools, Shay Coates, invites people onto the school system's newest propane powered bus Tuesday October 22, 2019. (Rob Ostermaier/The Daily Press).
The director of transportation for Newport News, Virginia public schools, Shay Coates, invites people onto the school system's newest propane powered bus Tuesday October 22, 2019. (Rob Ostermaier/The Daily Press). (Rob Ostermaier / Daily Press)

Montgomery County Public Schools announced last week that it will be adding a substantial amount of electric school buses to its fleet in the coming years through its agreement with Highland Electric Transportation. This is good news. It’s clear the district is committed to making school transportation a healthier experience for students and parents. Consider, though, that the combination of propane school buses and electric models will lead to the common goal of cleaner air and better financials for Maryland and Washington, D.C. schools (”Make reduced greenhouse gas emissions a top priority,” March 5).

There are over 21,000 propane school buses on American roads transporting over 1.3 million kids to school each day in almost 1,000 school districts. There are about 200 propane buses operating in 19 districts in Maryland. With a range of up to 400 miles on a single fueling, propane buses provide the distance that Maryland districts need to get through daily routes and after-school events. Plus, a propane bus costs three to four times less than an electric bus, meaning for the same cost, districts can transport up to four times more students in cleaner buses.

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With propane buses, school districts get all the cost- and emission-reducing benefits for less money. Electric school buses are one opportunity for emission reductions, but I encourage Maryland school districts and contractors take a hard look at propane.

Tucker Perkins, Washington, D.C.

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The writer is president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council.

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