Alternative Fuels for School Buses

Experience

Blue Bird Bus Sales of Virginia has the most up-to-date knowledge when it comes to alternative fuel solutions: via in-depth training sessions and hands-on experience, our sales and service team are experts on the fuel systems that power our Propane Autogas and CNG buses.

Strong Partnerships
With strong partners such as Ford, ROUSH CleanTech, ADOMANI, EDI and Cummins, our alternative fuel solutions continue to prove to be the best products available in the market today.

Alternative Fuels are Safe
Blue Bird doesn't cut corners when it comes to safety. Safety is, and always will be, the number one priority when we build your school buses. Our alternative fuel solutions are all proven to be safe- not just in operation, but also for the air that our children breathe every day.

Propane

With over 12,000 Blue Bird Propane Buses built, Blue Bird is the number one producer of propane buses in the industry. In fact, Blue Bird has produced more alternative fuel buses than all of our competitors combined!
  • Propane autogas is safe for children and the environment.
    • Propane is non-toxic and non-poisonous. It poses no harm to groundwater, surface water, or soil. It does not spill, pool or leave any residue when released, but dissipates into the air.
  • In its natural state, propane autogas is virtually odorless and colorless
    • In its natural form, propane has no scent, but a scent has been added (ethyl mercaptan) and is necessary to alert you that there is gas in the air. You will not smell propane as you drive down the road in this bus, unless there is a leak. This is for your safety.
  • Propane autogas does not ignite easily.
    • Because it is released from a pressured container as a vapor, propane autogas can’t be ingested like gasoline or alcohol fuels. To put it simply, igniting propane gas in the air calls for very specific things to occur. The mixture of propane/air must contain 2.2 percent to 9.6 percent propane vapor. Any more, or any less than that, and the propane will not ignite. Plus, the source of ignition must reach 940 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, gasoline will ignite at only 430 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • The fuel tanks used to house propane autogas are incredibly durable and thick.
    • Propane autogas fuel tanks are 20 times more puncture-resistant than typical diesel or gasoline tanks. They are made from carbon steel, include vapor-tight enclosures around all lines and fittings, and are manufactured with an Overfilling Prevention Device (OPD) that ensures the fuel volume will be able to adjust with temperature variations. There is also a pressure release device in every tank should the pressure rise beyond safe levels.
  • The propane autogas engine fuel system is built with safety in mind.
    • Our buses’ engine systems are fitted with safety devices and shut-off valves that function automatically if the fuel line ruptures, and all lines and hoses are protected to prevent damage from loose cargo which could be encountered in the vehicle interior.
  • The propane autogas tank mounting system is strong and secure.
    • Even in 20g frontal impact, or 8g side or rear impact (which is twice the requirement specified in NFPA58), the propane tank will remain securely in place. It is also mounted between Blue Bird’s durable frame rails, which creates additional safety.
  • Fueling is safe and easy.
    • Propane is 270 times more compact as a liquid than as a gas, making it safe and economical to store and transport. Wearing gloves and goggles is recommended when refueling (which is also recommended for CNG, diesel and gasoline fueling).

Gasoline

In the school bus industry, gasoline fuel is considered an alternative fuel (alternative to diesel). Blue Bird's popular Vision Gasoline buses are taking the industry by storm, with over 4,000 sold since 2016. Districts looking for a safe, easy option for alternatives to diesel are looking to gasoline as their bus of choice.

Compressed Natural Gas

Compressed Natural Gas, or CNG, is a domestically produced, clean alternative fuel source that can save your fleet money while producing cleaner air for the environment and the children that we transport. On average, a gallon equivalent of CNG is 25 to 45 percent less than a gallon of diesel!*

  • CNG costs less than Diesel.
    • The gallon equivalent of Compressed Natural Gas costs up to 60 percent less than the cost of a gallon of Diesel fuel. That is a big savings right away!
  • CNG is better for the environment.
    • According to the California Air Resources Board, natural gas can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20-23 percent when compared with diesel vehicles.
  • Nearly all of CNG in North America is domestically produced.
  • CNG does not ignite easily.
    • Because it is released from a pressured container as a vapor, propane autogas can’t be ingested like gasoline or alcohol fuels. To put it simply, igniting propane gas in the air calls for very specific things to occur. The mixture of propane/air must contain 2.2 percent to 9.6 percent propane vapor. Any more, or any less than that, and the propane will not ignite. Plus, the source of ignition must reach 940 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, gasoline will ignite at only 430 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Blue Bird's CNG buses deliver the same reliable performance and ease of maintenance as our diesel models.
    • The quality and expertise of Blue Bird can be seen in our reliable buses, no matter what fuel type you choose. We have built these buses to be easy to maintain and to give you the best performance throughout the life of the vehicle. Plus, natural gas' low carbon content translates into longer oil change intervals, less engine wear and a longer engine life.
  • CNG stations are opening across the country.
    • With the price of foreign oils on the rise, there has been an increase in alternative fuel stations across the country, including CNG stations. To find a station near you, as well as the prices of CNG in your area, visit CNGPrices.com.

Electric

Blue Bird was first to market electric school buses in 1994. With advances in battery technology, we can now offer efficient and affordable electric-powered buses. Our All American RE Electric bus and Vision Electric bus has the same, reliable body structure of our other rear engine bus offerings, and is powered by the ADOMANI/EDI Drivetrain system. This system has been proven in multiple applications, with over 25 million miles of drive time.