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Grants from CHS Allow School Districts to Explore Propane-Powered School Buses

As fleets across America explore alternative fuels, one is quickly becoming the answer for many, including school buses – propane autogas.

There are more than 11,000 propane school buses operating in the U.S., and thanks to a donation from CHS Stewardship and local co-ops, eight school districts in Wisconsin and Iowa have introduced propane-powered school buses in their districts. 

“We’re committed to developing programs to help make the conversion to propane autogas affordable for our cooperatives and school districts,” says Andy Ernst, manager of CHS propane marketing and business development. 

The switch to propane fuel can save a school district thousands of dollars in annual expenses. In addition to saving on fuel costs, propane allows for savings on maintenance, oil and filters. “Partnering with school districts is a good fit, and in some cases, moving to a more economical fuel source saves dollars and can help school districts retain teacher positions,” says Ernst. 

In addition to helping school districts save money, propane autogas also helps reduce emissions, allows the bus to start at lower temperatures, heats up the interior of the bus faster during cold winter months and provides safer rides overall because propane is quieter, allowing drivers to hear what’s happening on and off the bus. 

In 2010, Minnesota’s Eastern Carver County Schools converted 18 buses to propane. Since then, their fleet has grown to 58 propane autogas buses, saving the district $2,000 to $3,000 per year for each bus. “The buses are easier and cheaper to maintain than diesel engines,” says John Thomas, the district’s transportation manager. “We’ve been extremely happy with the results so far, and plan to continue to add propane buses to the system well into the future.”

CHS – America’s largest farmer-owned cooperative – will continue to help cooperatives, retailers and local communities make the switch to propane autogas through its autogas conversion and equipment programs. 

Learn more about the benefits of propane autogas and get information on how to convert your fleet to propane.