Propane powered buses proposal presented in SB

South Bend, Ind. The South Bend Municipal Energy Office presented a propane buses proposal at the South Bend School Board meeting this evening.

Energy office representatives discussed research regarding their fleet transition analysis.

The idea is to introduce and convert all school buses from diesel fuel to propane gas.

It's estimated that the city of South Bend uses 868,000 gallons of liquid fuels for 9.5 million miles.

But using propane would drop both amounts significantly.

Forward projections show that the cost of diesel will escalate more quickly than propane.

But some are concerned about student safety.

Others are confident the transition will improve the city and the environment.

"I understand there are a lot of questions that need to be answered,” said South Bend Municipal Energy Director Jon Burke. “There's a lot of education that needs to happen, but propane is a very solid transportation choice. It is a safe choice for school buses. The school buses go through the same kind of rigorous safety testing that you would have for any other fuel including gasoline or diesel."

If diesel buses are purchased this year, the cost to operate them over their 12 to 14 year lifespan is about 1 million dollars higher than using propane as an alternative.