Propane Buses to be Tested in Minnesota Cold

John Davis

KrapfschoolbusSome students in Minnesota will soon be breathing easier on their way to school … no, not because they won’t be hit up with that big algebra test. A school in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is testing propane in one of its buses.

The Star-Tribune reports that Eastern Carver County school drivers have been testing the propane bus to see if can hold up to that “special kind of cold” that only a Minnesota winter can bring:

Should it pass the test, starting up every morning and running well all day, district leaders say they’ll likely make the switch this spring with most of their buses when their new busing contract goes out to bid.

That would make Eastern Carver County Schools the first Minnesota district to convert from diesel to propane-fueled buses, and it could pave the way for other districts to follow suit.

The St. Francis School District has already ordered a smaller school bus that runs on propane for transporting special education students, and it’s set to arrive as early as next month.

Other Minnesota school districts eagerly waiting to try out the new bus include Minneapolis, Bloomington, Waconia and Pequot Lakes.

Propane is already being used in school districts in California and Texas, but, of course, they don’t have the kind of weather Minnesota basks in during the winter. Now, some bus drivers in the land of 10,000 lakes remember trying to use propane in the winter back during the 1970s and ’80s and the trouble with stalling during the cold. But these new propane-fueled buses seem to have those cold weather blues licked.

Plus, with the cheaper cost for propane … it runs just between $1.50 and $1.75 a gallon – much less than diesel’s $2.85 a gallon – plus a federal tax refund is available for propane … you can see why the schools are testing the clean-burning fuel to further offset the cost of the fuel purchase. No need to test your algebra skills too hard to see that it adds up to savings for schools and easier breathing for students (especially if it’s test day).

Biodiesel, Propane