Blue Bird Corp. Delivers Its Record 15,000th Propane School Bus

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (October 24, 2019) — The 18 buses delivered to Newport News Public Schools may look ordinary, but a unique fuel powers them: propane. Their arrival marked a special milestone — the 15,000th propane school bus delivered by Blue Bird Corporation.
Blue bird delivers its 15000 propane autogas school bus reports BPN oct 2019Newport News Public Schools operates a fleet of 335 buses; 62 are fueled by propane, an emission-reducing, cost-effective alternative fuel. The district has run propane buses for two years and will add 11 more by the end of 2019.
 
“We continue to replace our school district’s aging diesel buses with propane,” said Shay Coates, transportation director of Newport News Public Schools. “Propane not only reduces emissions, but also saves our district thousands of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs each year.”
 
The shift away from diesel is part of a national trend. School district and school bus contractor use of propane school buses has increased 800 percent in the last seven years, according to the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). “Currently more than 1 million students at over 900 public and private schools ride propane buses each day,” said Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of PERC, who also presented Newport News School District with the PERC Clean Energy Innovation Award.
 
“The Newport News school district is joining hundreds of other school systems across the country that choose clean-operating and economical propane,” said Mark Terry, chief commercial officer of Blue Bird Corporation. “They want to save money, benefit the environment and simplify maintenance. Propane’s reputation as economical, safe and environmentally friendly is growing quickly.”
 
Propane fuel systems emit virtually no particulate matter, less greenhouse gas and far fewer nitrogen oxides (NOx) than diesel buses. Exposure to NOx exhaust can have negative health effects on children, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Propane buses do not require dozens of extra parts in order to reduce emissions, which lowers maintenance costs.

“We’ve saved $800 on oil changes alone with each of our propane buses compared to our diesel buses,” said Brian Hanna, maintenance manager for Newport News Public Schools. “Propane buses cost less to fuel, as well, about 80 cents less per gallon.”

The Ford engine with a ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel system used to equip the Blue Bird Propane Vision bus is, on average, 65 percent lower emitting than the current emissions standards of EPA and CARB. “Newport News School District’s move away from diesel is helping reduce its environmental impact in the Tidewater region,” said Ryan Zic, vice president of school bus sales at ROUSH CleanTech. “The district would have to operate 100 propane autogas buses before it would produce as much NOx as only one diesel bus manufactured before 2007.”
 
These propane buses offer another big plus for both drivers and students: a very quiet ride. “There is a huge difference in noise level with our propane buses. Drivers have had nothing but positive experiences,” Coates said. “The only complaint we’ve had from students is that the propane buses are so quiet that they may not hear the bus coming!”
 
The district celebrated the milestone bus with an event at its new transportation facility. To accommodate its growing propane fleet, the district installed a second propane station that can fuel two buses at once. Its original fuel infrastructure will be used at a smaller onsite bus lot.
 
Like many other school districts, Newport News did its homework before purchasing propane buses, ensuring it had onsite infrastructure set up and taking advantage of training offered by Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech.
 
About Newport News Public Schools: The Newport News Public Schools division educates approximately 29,400 children in five early childhood centers, 24 elementary schools, seven middle schools, five high schools, one middle/high combination school and nine program sites. With a new early learning curriculum designed to boost literacy and math instruction, state-of-the art science labs and advanced educational technology, NNPS has the tools to ensure student and teacher success. For more information, visit the NNPS website.
 
About Blue Bird Corporation: Blue Bird (Nasdaq: BLBD) is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses and related parts. As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality / reliability / durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative fuel applications with its propane-powered, electric and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio. For more information on Blue Bird’s complete line of buses, visit www.blue-bird.com.
 
About ROUSH CleanTech: ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of alternative fuel vehicle technology, is a division of Roush Enterprises based in Livonia, Michigan. ROUSH CleanTech designs, engineers, manufactures and installs propane autogas and electric fuel system technology for medium-duty Ford commercial vehicles and school buses, and compressed natural gas fuel systems for school buses. As a Ford QVM-certified alternative fuel vehicle manufacturer, ROUSH CleanTech delivers economical, clean and domestically produced fueling options for fleets across North America. Learn more at ROUSHcleantech.com or by calling 800.59.ROUSH.

Hugh A. 'Bud' Rich First Recipient Of Prestigious "Distinguished Service Life Award"

Harrisburg, PA (October 24, 2019) — The Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association (PAPGA), for the first time in history, presented the Distinguished Service Life Award to Hugh A. ‘Bud’ Rich, Jr. of Richgas, Inc., Kane, PA.
PA Propane Gas Assoc Presents first Distinguished Service Life Award Hugh Bud Rich Jr Richgas Kane PA reports BPN Oct 2019
Distinguished Service Life Award is for individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Association or to the propane industry and grants the recipient lifetime membership in the Association. A committee comprised of active Past Presidents and the President determine who warrants such an award. No more than one (1) such award shall be given in any Association year and it shall not be required that an award be given annually.

Based on PAPGA (limited) records, Mr. Rich, Jr. was elected to the Board of Directors in 1968 and stepped down June, 2019, 51 consecutive years. He is a Past President and also was the inaugural President to serve a two-year term, 1971-1973.

“It was my honor and privilege to nominate and present this award to Bud Rich, Jr. He is most deserving to be the first recipient of this prestigious award,’ said Harold Sweet, PAPGA President. “The Board of Directors and members unanimously voted to rename the award the Hugh A. ‘Bud’ Rich, Jr. Distinguished Service Life through a bylaw change.”

Mr. Rich, Jr., received an engraved hand blown blue flame glass award and a personalized wooden bobtail.

The Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association (PAPGA) is a member-focused trade association providing services that communicate, educate and promote the propane industry in Pennsylvania. The association was formed in 1947 to offer opportunities to learn through training and networking with peers, and to aid with legislative issues that contribute to operating a safe and successful industry. PAPGA continues to focus on education, networking and representing the interest of Pennsylvania’s propane businesses to the government, while assisting members in remaining current on topics vital to the propane industry. The Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association is affiliated with the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) and Women in Propane Council (WIP).

City of Knoxville Recognized As 2019 Green Leadership City By Propane Council

WASHINGTON (October 22, 2019) – The city of Knoxville, Tennessee, was recognized as the 2019 Green Leadership City, a distinction awarded by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) to one government agency in the United States each year.

Propane Council Awards Knoxville Tenn Green Leadership Award Clean Propane Fleets Reduce pollution 96 percent reports BPN 10 2019Knoxville was recognized specifically for its adoption of clean, propane-powered mowers, among other environmentally friendly programs that support the city’s sustainability and emissions-reduction goals.
 
Mayor Madeline Rogero accepted a $5,000 donation from PERC during a celebration event at Suttree Landing Park with city officials and Public Service Department employees, who operate the propane mowers regularly. The donation will benefit Knoxville’s CAC Beardsley Community Farm, a non-profit based in Knoxville’s Malcolm Martin Park, which is dedicated to promoting food security and sustainable agriculture.

Propane School Bus Rebates Up To $20,000 Available

(October 22, 2019) — School buses travel over four billion miles each year, providing the safest transportation to and from school for more than 25 million American children every day. However, diesel exhaust from these buses has a negative impact on human health, especially for children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed. Diesel buses not only emit harmful particulates, they are also noisy, don't easily start in cold weather, require more maintenance, and have a much higher cost of ownership.

School bus generic imageThe Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2010 allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to offer rebates, in addition to grants, to reduce harmful emissions from older, dirtier, harmful diesel vehicles. The rebate program has funded vehicle replacements or retrofits for almost 2,000 vehicles to date.

The 2019 DERA School Bus Rebates will offer over $10 million to public and private fleet owners for the replacement of old diesel school buses with new buses certified to EPA's cleanest emission standards. EPA will award selected applicants $15,000-20,000 per bus for scrapping and replacing old buses. Eligible replacement buses include clean, quiet, economical propane autogas.

Deadline for emailing applications with scans of bus titles and registrations to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Propane School Bus Rebates Up To $20,000 Available

(October 22, 2019) — School buses travel over four billion miles each year, providing the safest transportation to and from school for more than 25 million American children every day. However, diesel exhaust from these buses has a negative impact on human health, especially for children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed. Diesel buses not only emit harmful particulates, they are also noisy, don't easily start in cold weather, require more maintenance, and have a much higher cost of ownership.

School bus generic imageThe Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2010 allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to offer rebates, in addition to grants, to reduce harmful emissions from older, dirtier, harmful diesel vehicles. The rebate program has funded vehicle replacements or retrofits for almost 2,000 vehicles to date.

The 2019 DERA School Bus Rebates will offer over $10 million to public and private fleet owners for the replacement of old diesel school buses with new buses certified to EPA's cleanest emission standards. EPA will award selected applicants $15,000-20,000 per bus for scrapping and replacing old buses. Eligible replacement buses include clean, quiet, economical propane autogas.

Deadline for emailing applications with scans of bus titles and registrations to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. ET.