Oshkosh finds benefits of propane powered school buses

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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - We're a little less than two weeks away from the start of the new school for many kids in our area. Buses will soon be hitting the road as kids head back to class. The Oshkosh Area School District, which contracts with Kobussen Buses, will once again be transporting kids in propane powered buses.

Oshkosh Area School District is using a propane-powered fleet from Kobussen Buses (WBAY photo)

A fleet of those propane powered buses are lined up and ready to go at Kobussen's Oshkosh terminal.

"We tested them out for a couple of years and now we believe they are absolutely a good answer for the school bus," says Dan Kobussen from Kobussen Buses.

One of those tests was with the Oshkosh Area School District. It contracts with Kobussen to transport students on 62 different bus routes.

After a successful first year, last school year, the district is looking forward to propane buses again.

According to Sue Schnorr, OASD Executive Director of Business Services, "They're a lot cleaner, the emissions is a lot cleaner. They can be idling outside of a school and you don't have those diesel fumes, and it's healthier for kids and healthier for our environment, so it's been really, really positive."

In addition to being cleaner, the propane buses are quieter, they heat up quicker in the winter months, and most importantly they're more efficient and cost-effective, since the price of diesel fluctuates more rapidly than propane.

Kobussen says, "The bus is more expensive upfront, but after about four years we figure we will have the money back and we will start to recoup some of that money based on the fuel prices being cheaper."

While Oshkosh is the only local district with a full fleet of propane buses, Kobussen says it looks to expand the program and potentially use other alternative fuels in the future.

He adds, "There is other technology that is out there, we're starting to see a lot more gasoline available in the big buses and we're also starting to see electric in the big buses, so those are two new products that are on the market."

Kobussen says it will work with every district to see what fits best in their contract, but the bus company believes the propane powered buses are the answer to good transportation.

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