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Hall OKs buying propane school buses
LP vehicles run cleaner, cheaper, officials say
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When it comes to moving kids from place to place, the Hall County Schools System may be treading on new ground compared to other systems around the state.

Last week, the Hall County School Board approved purchasing 20 LP school buses that run on propane fuel.

"We are told no other systems are currently running LP buses in Georgia," said Will Schofield, Hall schools superintendent.

"However, many large municipalities have run their bus fleets on LP for decades, as have many large city taxicab companies."

According to the Jewel Armour, the system's executive director of operations, the $88,898 per bus price tag is based on a state negotiated contract with the Blue Bird bus company.

"This is the first year we've been able to buy buses off a state contract," Armour told the school board at its May 25th meeting.

"Blue Bird's the only one that provides an LP bus right now."

According to the bus company, when it comes to the LP vehicles and traditional models, "the only major difference is that this bus is fueled by propane with CleanFUEL USA's certified Liquid Propane Injection System instead of diesel."

CleanFUEL USA is a Texas-based company that has been providing alternative fuel vehicles and dispensers since the early 1990s.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that vehicles powered by propane fuel "produce significantly lower amounts of some harmful emissions and the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide" than do vehicles powered by gasoline or diesel fuel.

The acquisition of the buses would come from a portion of the system's Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.

System officials say there are many benefits to acquiring LP buses.

"We find the advantages to be (that these buses) run on a domestic product, liquid propane, rather than an imported product, diesel fuel," Schofield said.

"They run much cleaner, requiring less maintenance, meaning fewer oil changes. All of this resulting in more longevity."

Fuel prices are another advantage, Schofield says.

"Diesel is currently in the $3.50 per gallon range, while LP is $1.65 per gallon," he said.

"With a 50 cents per gallon rebate from CleanFuels, current LP costs are reduced to $1.17 per gallon."

 

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