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October 01, 2018   |

Press Release

#CleanRide4Kids: New, Low-emission Diesel School Buses Deliver Clean Rides to America’s Schoolchildren

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Even with a growing field of alternative fuels, school bus fleet managers continue to show confidence in diesel for their school districts’ student transportation needs

Nowhere has the effectiveness of DERA more pronounced than the school bus rebate program

More children will benefit from investments in advanced diesel than any other technology

October 1, 2018 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – As we recognize Child Health Day, more children are getting to school using the latest near-zero emissions advanced diesel technology than ever before, contributing to cleaner air and school districts’ bottom lines. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) school bus replacement rebate program has played a substantial role in enabling that success.

“Diesel is the technology of choice for over 95 percent of school buses on the road today, thanks to its unique combination of factors: efficient operation, economical ownership, reliability, durability, low-cost operation, and maximum flexibility in utilization, routing and fueling. And today, 40 percent of America’s school buses are sporting the latest and most advanced diesel technology (2011 and newer model years) that delivers significant emissions reductions over older generations of the technology, meaning cleaner air for kids and their communities,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

Since funding began in 2008, the DERA school bus rebate program has been a true success story for introducing these cleaner school buses for America’s kids. Between 2012 and 2017, DERA rebates have funded the replacement or retrofit of more than 900 vehicles. For the 2018 fiscal year, the EPA just announced more than $9 million in DERA school bus rebates for school districts across the nation.

“Nowhere has the effectiveness of DERA more pronounced than the school bus rebate program,” said Schaeffer. “This program has been lauded as a highly effective program, delivering significant benefits to communities across the country with the least administrative burden. Interested school bus operators are provided just enough incentive funding to scrap and replace older buses as opposed to selling that older bus on the secondary market.”

Since its creation in 2005, the larger DERA program has delivered even greater benefits Coast to Coast, funding replacements or retrofits for more than 73,000 vehicles – a large number of which have been school buses. The DERA program enjoys bipartisan support in Congress and is supported by a bipartisan coalition of several hundred environmental and public health organizations, industry representatives, and state and local government associations including the American Lung Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists and National School Transportation Association.

“Even with a growing field of alternative fuels, school bus fleet managers continue to show confidence in diesel for their school districts’ student transportation needs. Diesel’s environmental outlook and low-cost operation, combined with its record of continuous improvement, mean school districts across America will continue to choose diesel technologies well into the future,” said Schaeffer.

When it comes to reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions – some of the contributors to bad air quality – nothing beats the new-generation of diesel school buses, even when rated against CNG and propane technologies. (Learn more at https://thomasbuiltbuses.com/bus-advisor/facts-about-fuels/) Over the last decade, diesel technology has fundamentally transformed. The newest generation of advanced diesel technology school buses are equipped with selective catalytic reduction and particulate control technologies, which combine to achieve near-zero emissions for both NOx and PM.

Recent findings from the Health Effects Institute (HEI) affirm the near-zero emissions performance of new-technology diesel buses. The HEI’s Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) study found that, when combined with aftertreatment technologies, “modern diesel engines are highly effective and that they meet – and exceed – the [emission] reductions mandated by U.S. and EURO regulations.” The ACES study reports that new-technology diesel engines offer a 90 percent reduction in particulate matter and a 94 percent reduction in smog-forming NOx compounds, when compared to older generations of the technology.

“Innovation in diesel technology continues to add to its benefits: using blends of U.S.-grown advanced renewable biodiesel fuel in either existing or new diesel buses can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 50 to 85 percent,” said Schaeffer. “A growing number of school districts around the country are choosing these advanced renewable biodiesel fuels for their buses because they amplify school districts’ ability to lower their carbon footprints and green their communities.

“School districts have notoriously limited budgets, with the highest priority rightly going to teachers and education programs; transportation updates are often the lowest item on the list. To maximize the environmental benefits for the limited available funds, and to get the most kids in newer buses, the best investment is not the expensive all-electric option. More children will benefit from investments in advanced diesel than any other technology. Any alternative to diesel has a higher acquisition cost and required new fueling infrastructure investments, which can drain funds that would otherwise be used to turn over the fleet to newer technology can actually result in higher fleet emissions overall.”

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About The Diesel Technology Forum

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information, visit http://www.dieselforum.org.



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Media Inquiries:
Allen Schaeffer
Executive Director
(301) 668-7230

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