Nebraska Providing Rebates to Replace 62 Dirty Diesel School Buses With Clean Autogas

(September 9, 2019) — The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) said in August the state is awarding more than $2.6 million in rebates to schools across the state to assist in the replacement of older diesel school buses. The funded projects include 60 public school dis- tricts, one private school, and one bus contractor serving a public school district.
ROUSH CleanTech school bus
Each project will replace one older diesel bus with a new bus with lower emissions, said Jim Macy, NDEE director. The department initially planned to fund 32 rebates but because of high demand all 62 applicants received funding. “The department received a large number of applications from schools across the state,” Macy said. “The funds available for this program give us the opportunity to provide financial assistance to schools that will help reduce harmful diesel emissions.”

However, of the 62 school bus recipients, only 10 opted to use their rebate to purchase a propane-powered bus. The remaining 52 chose a new diesel-fueled variant. The rebates were funded by Nebraska’s share of the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Mitigation Trust. Trust funds may be used to replace diesel vehicles and engines in order to reduce emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides, which may have direct adverse health effects as well as contribute to the formation of ozone.

Nebraska’s Volkswagen projects are expected to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions
by more than 14 tons. The 10 school districts replacing diesel buses with pro- pane models are purchasing buses that meet California nitrogen oxide emission standards that are much stricter than current federal standards.

Funding for the bus rebates include the remain- ing portion of Nebraska’s Volkswagen funds that NDEE previously earmarked for school bus replacements, plus $1.354 million from the funds designated for eligible actions based on demand. The department is wrapping up 40 projects from the 2018 school bus rebate program. Over a two-year period, about $4.36 million in Volkswagen State Trust funds will be spent to replace 102 diesel school buses, reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by nearly 28 tons.