EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. -- One school district in the Poconos is helping to keep the Poconos green with more environmentally-friendly school buses.
Propane powered buses are a little more expensive than their diesel counterparts, but they save big on emissions and money in the future.
It doesn't sound like your typical school bus because this bus runs on propane. Thanks to a $300,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the East Stroudsburg Area School District added 49 more propane-powered buses to its fleet. Now 101 of the 122 buses in the district run on propane.
Fueling up on propane is significantly better for the environment. The 101 propane-powered school buses in the East Stroudsburg Area School District's fleet have prevented 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel from being burned just this school year alone.
"The cost of a diesel bus is going up. The cost of maintaining a diesel bus is also going up, whereas, with the propane bus, you don't have the filters because there is no real pollution," said Bob Sutjak, the director of transportation and grounds for East Stroudsburg Area.
In addition to reduced emissions, the school district will find significant financial savings.
"When you do an engine oil change, in a diesel, you have about 30 quarts of oil. There's seven quarts of oil in these."
Propane engines don't need to be plugged in overnight like diesel engines to prevent them from freezing up. They also require far less idle time to warm up.
"Diesel engine, in the morning when you start it, takes a half hour to 45 minutes to get heat inside the cab. The propane takes eight minutes to get heat. The drivers love that," Sutjak said.
Adding propane buses to a fleet is a step in the right direction to keep the Poconos a beautiful place to live and visit.
"It's why people come to the Poconos. They want to see the beauty of the trees, the ski slopes, waterfalls at Bushkill Falls. So we're helping all that to stay green."
The school district has already bought 21 additional propane buses which means the entire fleet will be propane powered next school year.