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06Jun2018

Propane School Buses – What are the Pros and Cons

Propane school vehicles have turned out to be a mainstay in both suburban, as well as in urban communities. They offer students easy access to their school campuses. Moreover, Propane school buses are offering a more inexpensive as well as an ecologically friendly option.

Although moving to Propane-powered school buses may need a huge initial investment, there are considerable cost benefits, as well, over time. It is also essential to note that propane-operated buses are operating with the latest technology.

Though there are higher expenses related to the conversion, there are substantial convenience and savings, as well.

Before considering propane for school buses, every school should consider its pros and cons. Here are some of the pros and cons of Propane school buses that you must know.

Pros of a Propane School Bus

As far as the level of emissions is concerned, propane emits less nitrogen oxide, so it is an extremely enviable option. The emissions of nitrogen oxide will be condensed by 11% simply by changing the exiting diesel-powered school bus into a propane-powered one.

Propane-operated school buses are a cheaper option in due course, as well. Some of the other benefits are as follows:

1. Propane is an established substitute for other fuels.

Most of the school buses habitually viewed the propane energy systems as a budding technology, but actually, it is not true. In fact, propane has been fuelling school buses since its introduction as a  bus fuel from the 1970s.

Propane fuel has been acknowledged as the best, most trusted, and affordable one amid all schools in 50 states in United States, as well as in other countries worldwide.

It has been a long-traditional fuel solution for a variety of applications, including school buses. School which can easily get propane fuel started using this for their buses.

2. Propane-powered school buses offer the minimum total price of ownership.

School buses that are fuelled by Propane tender the lowest total ownership price when compared to other fuels. Some schools get their first investment back in their buses in as early as one-and-half to two years.  This is mainly due to the reduced maintenance expenses as well as fuel prices.

Normally, wholesale Propane is less costly than the traditional fuels. Additionally, the costs usually fall between the price of natural gas and oil, which are used to produce propane.

As propane has the ability to burn hygienic fuel, maintenance expenses are significantly reduced. Moreover, Propane-powered school buses need less volume of oil when compared to that of buses that operate through other fuels.

3. The refueling infrastructure of Propane can accommodate any size of the fleet

Schools have numerous refueling options for their school bus fleet, operating with propane. Thus, a refueling plan can be customized to the individual requirements of each fleet.

Some schools will get the maximum benefits from joining a refueling system. This is the best and shrewd option for the bus fleets with restricted space at their facility to put in refilling infrastructure. Refueling systems offer the benefit of 24 x 7 access, through a card-lock arrangement.

Propane school bus fleets with sufficient space at their facilities can think about the on-site refilling infrastructure, which is the most inexpensive way of installing propane.

A central location offers ease and abridged downtime for school bus drivers, and the fuel station can be upgraded to meet the fleet needs of the schools while it grows. Schools can either hire infrastructure from a Propane seller or buy their own infrastructure.

4. Propane is a harmless, non-pollutant, as well as a no-leak fuel

Schools that run propane-powered buses have no need to worry about the spilling fuel onto streets or footpaths where drivers and students could be exposed to the injurious chemicals that produce diesel and gasoline.

Actually, as propane is a no-leak fuel, the buses that use it as a fuel will come under closed-loop fuel structure. This offers schools a major benefit by getting rid of hazmat cleaning concerns or upcoming ecological mitigation, particularly at repairs and garaging facilities.

5. Propane is a local fuel

As propane is a local fuel, members of school community and small business owners had become the retailers of propane fuel. This is also another way to keep the school money within the community.

There are many other reasons which made more and more school districts making use of propane fuel in their school buses. They are:

  • Good combustion.
  • Extended shelf life.
  • Available during the power cut.
  • Trouble-free storage in small tanks as well as in large tanks.
  • Home delivery is feasible for larger tanks.

Cons of a Propane School Bus

As schools are seeking the most cost-effective as well as the safest school buses, it is vital to understand the way to compare. This means that which would be the finest option, not only in terms of initial cost but also in terms of operating as well as maintenance expenses.

Propane has less power as well as less efficient for each gallon when compared to other fuels. School buses that run with a propane engine will offer less performance.

Therefore, propane is a more costly option, except, if your schools are economical. Moreover, when the school buses get older, during cold seasons, they can get a bit finicky and they may need to freeze up prior to heating up of the engine coolant.

Another major con of the propane-fueled school buses is the fueling. A school operating such a bus must make sure that they can get proper propane supply  so that they don’t have to face any difficulty.

Some of the other drawbacks of operating Propane school buses are:

1. Propane is not easily available when compared to other fuels

When schools need to refill a big tank of their school bus, it is rather difficult, as propane is not readily available like other fuels. As only, some gas stations have the well-pressurized tanks that can store propane in a liquid condition. Drivers of the Propane school buses need to plan well in advance to fill up the entire tank of their buses.

2. Propane-fuelled buses will offer a low mileage

Propane-operated school buses will offer a lower performance besides offering a low mileage per gallon when compared to other fuels. This means that home heating tanks are required to be bigger when compared to that of other fuel tanks.

Besides the complexity of locating propane resources, this can make the filling of the propane tank a more inconvenient process.

3. Propane gas burners are extremely sensitive to temperatures

This means that a school bus that operates through propane will not function properly as the gas burners of the Propane fuel tank will not perform well during the freezing temperatures.

As the Propane is also a gas, the cold temperature may cause it to reduce in volume. This, in turn, will decrease the pressure in the engine system, causing less gas attaining the burner to ignite. This is the major setback when the Propane gas is being burned in outside applications.

4. Propane is an easily flammable fuel

As Propane can easily catch fire, it is considered an unsafe fuel to operate school buses. When propane escapes into a restricted space, it can increase and blow up if exposed to a flame or spark.

Thus, in a Propane-fueled school bus, it is vital and safe to check the fuel line carefully to make sure that the fuel is not leaking. Broken propane fuel tanks in a school bus can be an explosion hazard, as well, as the inside pressure could make the fuel tank of the bus burst.

5. Propane is restricted in its potential

Although propane is abundant in supply, it is limited in its perspective, as it is a derivative of petroleum cleansing. The supply, as well as the accessibility of Propane, is closely associated with the supply and the accessibility of petroleum.

When petroleum is extensively available, propane will be available in plenty. If not, there will a lack in availability of Propane. This means that schools operating their propane-powered buses cannot count on the availability of adequate amount of the fuel at all times.

Some of the other cons of operating the propane school buses are:

  • The tank of the bus is more susceptible to explode, as propane is a flammable gas.
  • The propane fuel network is more difficult.
  • Larger propane tanks are less attractive.
  • Higher fitting expenses.
  • Loss generation of power.

To conclude, propane fuel tanks are big and they may be an unappealing addition to the school buses. This is for the reason that they not only stock an adequate amount of fuel for the future use, but they will also allow the schools to operate their buses in a more cost-efficient way.

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Propane School Buses - What are the Pros and Cons
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