The EPA’s “Clean Bus Program” will be spending $1 billion in the 2023 fiscal year to help schools buy electric buses and other cleaner alternatives.
The EPA is one of numerous agencies working on upgrading American public vehicle fleets. Their “Clean Bus Program” is targeted explicitly at replacing gas and diesel buses with clean alternatives. Applicants can choose from electric, propane, or compressed natural gas (CNG) bus funding, but the most money is given to applicants looking to use electric buses.
Schools have responded positively to the EPA program. The agency stated that before the program closed in August of this year, they received over 2,000 applicants requesting a total of $4 billion that would be used for a total of 12,000 school buses nationwide. Sadly, however, the agency was allocated $965 million for this year, so not all applicants will receive funding. The EPA plans to notify applicants of the funding they are allocated this month (October).
Schools overwhelmingly chose to invest in electric buses instead of natural gas counterparts. 90% of applicants were looking for electric bus funding, 9% applied for propane-powered bus funding, and the remaining 1% applied for CNG bus funding.
Along with funding the electric buses, the EPA’s grants will also be used for charging infrastructure projects for the buses.
The EPA’s Clean Bus Program website lists numerous benefits for schools looking to switch to electric options. While noise reduction, carbon emission reduction, and increased reliability are obviously huge benefits to schools, the most considerable benefits come in the form of cost reductions, less money spent on fuel, repairs, and overall ownership. Schools can then spend savings on actually improving education instead of simple transportation.
While school buses seem to be rocketing into an electric future, public transportation lags behind. Buses used within cities are still overwhelmingly powered by diesel, gas, and natural gas instead of cleaner alternatives. However, this may also be changing due to city and local funding and Inflation Reduction Act spending.
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