LPSS eyes expansion of propane bus fleet

Posted at 12:36 PM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-18 13:36:18-04

The Lafayette Parish School System would like to move away from dirty, high-maintenance diesel school bus engines, and a rebate from the Volkswagen Clean Fuel Program could help.

Today, staff will present information to the School Board about a plan to trade in some diesel buses and replace them with propane buses. 

The system has had propane-powered buses for about five or six years, and finds them to be much easier to maintain, said CAO Joe Craig. They’re not a good fit for special education buses, but they work great for the "regular" size buses, he said. 

The rebate comes from the Volkswagen diesel settlement, and was arranged by the state, the agenda item states. About 50 percent of the purchase price will be reimbursed under the program, as long as LPSS can prove that a diesel bus was removed from the fleet for every propane bus that is purchased. 

Craig said that staff hope to convert more of the fleet to propane, which is why they want to discuss the issue with the board. 

"Our recommendation is we start switching to propane and gas, because diesel is dirty and it requires a lot of maintenance," Craig said. "We really want to expand propane in our full-size regular fleet." 

Craig said the plan is to build some propane-fueling stations, so the board can buy propane in bulk at a discount. 

"After a while, we will pay off our stations and see even more savings," he said. 

The board meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.