Guide to Propane Buses

Propane buses have quickly become one of the most popular trends among school districts, transit companies and other organizations across the country. Propane buses offer more advantages than just cost savings, including quicker startup during extreme weather and fewer hydrocarbon exhaust emissions. 

Whether a company bases its decision to explore alternative fuels on a quick return on investment, a sustainable energy source, community impact, serviceability or safety, fueling a bus with propane is one of the most practical solutions.

How Is a Propane-Powered Bus Different From a Regular Bus?

Many propane school buses look the same as their traditional counterparts with no apparent differences. The lights, windows, doors and mirrors are nearly identical. The primary difference is they use propane as fuel instead of diesel. 

Propane engines significantly reduce smog-producing hydrocarbon emissions and are much quieter than traditional bus engines, resulting in a greater eco-friendliness and increased passenger safety. Because of the increased savings on fuel and maintenance, organizations can often put two or more propane-powered buses on the road for the cost of one diesel-powered bus.

Advantages of Propane Buses

The fact that many organizations continue to switch over to propane buses gives testament to the considerable number of benefits that come with them. Like any other public transit bus, propane-powered buses meet U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Several specific benefits of propane buses include:

  • Fuel and maintenance savings: Propane generally costs about half as much as diesel fuel, adding significant savings that organizations can use for other budget areas. Propane also decreases maintenance costs because it produces less engine wear. These factors result in higher value and a lower total ownership cost.
  • A cleaner fuel alternative: Using an environmentally friendly propane bus eliminates the majority of hydrocarbon generated by diesel engines. Fewer exhaust emissions from a bus mean less exposure to potentially harmful air particles. Propane does not spill or leave any residue upon release and poses no harm to soil, surface water or groundwater.
  • Safety: Manufacturers build propane-powered buses with safety in mind. Propane fuel tanks are significantly more resistant to puncture than diesel-powered systems. In addition, fueling with propane involves a close-looped system, meaning there are no spills or odors like those associated with other fuels.
  • Superior build: The fuel tanks consist of carbon steel and vapor-tight enclosures to ensure fuel efficiency in variable temperatures. The engine systems come equipped with shutoff valves and other safety devices that trigger automatically during a malfunction. The sturdy and durable propane tank stays firmly between heavy-duty frame rails. 
  • Odorless: Propane is odorless until there’s a leak. It has no scent in its natural form, but it uses ethyl mercaptan as an additive to alert you when gas is in the air. Propane is also much less likely to ignite than gasoline or diesel fuel.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Propane School Buses

Many of the early disadvantages associated with propane-powered school buses have been eliminated thanks to strict manufacturing testing and improvements in technology. Today’s propane systems have even become much safer than conventional diesel fuel systems.

Modern propane systems come with shutoff valves and other safety devices that automatically activate if there’s an issue with the fuel line. New propane tank-mounting systems feature designs at twice the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard.

Other early concerns revealed the potential unavailability of propane fuel in certain regions, but this is rapidly changing as propane buses become more popular. The majority of U.S. propane is domestic, unlike many other fuel sources. United States propane capacity has grown so much over the past few decades that exports continue to increase annually. 

Why Propane Buses Are More Reliable

One of the most significant advantages of propane buses is their reliability in extreme temperatures. Propane remains in a liquid state until it reaches the engine’s cylinder, alleviating delays in startup time. Many of the other benefits of propane systems are related to engine reliability, including:

  • Decreased breakdowns and system malfunctions.
  • Significantly less downtime due to fewer maintenance requirements.
  • No need for fuel additives, conditioners or anti-gelling agents.

Blue Bird Propane Buses

Gregory Poole is the leading dealer in North Carolina for Blue Bird and Micro Blue Bird buses, two of the most popular models of propane buses on the road. Blue Bird has over eight decades of manufacturing to the highest industry standards and offers the most reliable and durable buses available. 

Blue Bird’s premier 5th Generation Vision Propane Bus delivers exceptional fuel and maintenance cost savings on top of the most comfortable passenger riding experience. This model showcases superior maneuverability, excellent driver visibility and many other safety features that make it one of the most trusted buses on the road. Blue Bird can customize the Vision propane bus according to specific applications, allowing each customer to choose the best options for their needs.

Contact Gregory Poole Equipment Company Today

Gregory Poole’s team has the experience and knowledge to meet all your school bus needs. In addition to our selection of new propane buses, we also offer the highest quality maintenance and repair services to keep your fleet running smoothly. If you are considering buying a school bus in the North Carolina area, look no farther than Gregory Poole Bus Sales.

Contact us today to learn more about how a new propane bus can benefit your organization.