As the Leonia School District bus fleet ages, new replacements will be required at a rate of approximately three buses per year over the next several years. The Leonia Board of Education has chosen to phase out diesel, joining the nearly 850 other school districts across the U.S. and Canada that operate Blue Bird propane school buses. While it is still a fossil fuel, the carbon content is significantly less than conventional gasoline or diesel fuel. For instance, propane produces up to 20% less nitrogen oxide, 60% less carbon monoxide and notably 24% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than diesel. In addition, 90% of America’s propane is produced domestically with costs of operation that are 40 to 50% less than diesel. That makes it not only an environmental choice but an economically responsible one as well.
Above all, Leonia will serve as a model district, being among the first schools in the area to purchase propane buses and a fueling station. The hope for the future is that the availability of a propane fueling station will allow neighboring schools to purchase their own propane buses and fill them up in Leonia. This endeavor therefore has the potential to not only decrease emissions in Leonia, but in neighboring school districts as well.