Kings Park Central School District is continuing its commitment to the environment by introducing more propane buses to the school’s fleet.
Last year, the district joined a handful of Long Island school districts in going green for transportation in the form of propane-fueled school buses.
Thanks to the support of the community, Kings Park expanded its fleet of propane buses from four to eight for the start of the new school year.
Supervisor Timothy Eagen said the additional buses will help the district cut costs and contribute positively to the environment.
“For the second year in a row, the community overwhelmingly supported the purchase,” he said in a statement. “This choice is yet another way that the school district is looking to save taxpayers money. The transition to propane has gone very well for us, and I look forward to continuing this initiative.”
The purchase of the buses was a separate voting proposition in this past May’s budget vote.
The old diesel buses, originally purchased 15 to 20 years ago, were traded in for $2,500 each. The district owns a fleet of about 60 buses, and it is necessary to purchase buses on an annual basis to maintain the fleet.
Propane is seen as a positive alternative fuel for school buses because it is widely available and costs significantly less than diesel or gasoline. The newest propane engine technology is considerably more cost efficient, quieter, requires less maintenance and is more ecofriendly than either diesel or gas.
In cold weather, diesel engines need to idol for 30 minutes or longer to achieve the proper engine temperature prior to operation. This means wasting gas and paying workers overtime to warm up the bus fleet on cold days. This is not necessary with propane engines.
Moving forward, the administration said it intends to continue to slowly replace its fleet with propane buses.
Eagen said the district will always need a few diesel buses however, for longer sports and extracurricular trips.
“Propane is a fuel that is currently not readily available at gas stations,” he said.