DERA is delivering big on the clean air promise for many communities and Congress should consider boosting funding for the program.
August 18, 2017 | Diesel Technology Forum
The modern yellow school bus powered by today’s diesel engine is the right choice for student transportation.
It’s back to school for the nation’s kids, and the iconic yellow school buses are back in motion, delivering tomorrow's leaders to the great opportunity of education. Each day, more than 500,000 school buses transport more than 25 million students - more than half of America's schoolchildren. All told, school buses travel more than 5.7 billion miles each year. Over 96 percent of school buses are powered by diesel one of safest, least combustible, most reliable, most fuel-efficient power for student transportation.
Advances in diesel engine technology have virtually eliminated the old smoke and smell many of us remember from yesterday's engines. New school buses using clean ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel are able to reduce emissions to levels equal to or lower than comparable natural gas buses. Consider that it takes 60 new clean diesel school buses to equal the emissions of just a single bus that is 15 years old. In addition, a growing number of school districts now use blends of biodiesel and renewable diesel to power those buses, further reducing emissions.
In addition, every school bus on the road eliminates approximately 36 cars. For every bus on the road, that's 36 fewer cars clogging the morning commute, saving fuel and emissions. School bus transportation makes our students and communities cleaner and healthier.
But not every school district can afford new buses, so funding is available through the Diesel Emission Reduction Program to help replace school buses that have diesel engines of model year 2006 or older. Engines manufactured beginning in 2007 must be deployed with advanced technologies that meet the U.S. EPA's clean diesel emission requirements. School buses are amazingly resilient and built to last and with proper maintenance, fleets can seemingly last forever. In fact, clean diesel technology leads the choice for EPA school bus rebates with over 90 percent of funds going towards clean diesel replacements.
Other programs and funding opportunities exist to help school districts across the country purchase new clean school buses. The recent settlement with Volkswagen includes a $2.9 billion Trust to help introduce clean technologies across a wide variety of vehicles and equipment types including school buses
On the outside the overall look of the school bus hasn't changed much in a generation. It's still the same familiar color and shape. But on the inside, it's a whole new world of high-tech clean diesel technology that is more fuel efficient, and near zero emissions making today's clean diesel school buses better and safer for transporting children to and from school than ever before.
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