Reporting Brad Segall
By Brad Segall
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — School districts looking to trim the fat in already tight budgets could see substantial savings by changing the way their school buses are powered.
Montgomery County State Representative Todd Stephens recently met with several school district officials to try to sell them on the benefits of using natural gas to fuel their vehicles. By converting the fleet, Stephens says the districts will not only save money on their transportation costs, but it’s better for the environment, because it burns cleaner.
But what about the upfront costs? Stephens says the state can help out.
“We required natural gas drillers to pay $20 million over the next three years for these fleet-conversion programs, so there’s state funding available.”
Plus, he says studies show diesel fuel poses a health threat to children.
“Diesel poses a pretty serious health threat for children depending on how it’s used, but there’s substantial evidence that diesel is not healthy for children to breathe.”
Lower Merion converted its fleet of 58 buses nearly two decades ago when the cost of natural gas was actually higher than other fuels. Stephens says they did it purely for environmental reasons, but now the district pays just 75 cents a gallon for fuel.