Michigan Propane School Buses

One-Stop-Shop to Huge Savings on Vehicle Fuel and Maintenance, Fueling Infrastructure, and Tailpipe Emissions

STEP 1: Propane Bus Vehicle Types

Cost Per Mile - Type C

Fuel Cost/Mile
Propane
$0.63
Electricity
$2.02
Diesel
$0.86
Gasoline
$0.85
Natural Gas
$0.76

Propane Out-Performs Electric

A Permit and basic electricity gets your Propane Fueling Station up and running. Propane infrastructure is easily adjustable where it can grow as your propane fleet grows.

Fuel Propane Electric Diesel

Purchase Cost

$108,000 / bus

$375,000 / bus

$100,000 / bus



STANDARD Infrastructure Cost

10 buses

$20K - $60K
if district owned

$1,500 - $15K
if leased from propane co.

$80K - $480K
N/A

Fuel Range

up to
300 miles
per 67-gal tank

up to
120 miles
per charge

up to
500 miles
per fill

Fueling / Charging Time

6-8 min.
6-8 hours
6-8 min.

Cost Per Mile*
*Over a 15-year life-cyle

$0.63
$2.02
$0.86

Propane Provides Cleaner Air for the Kids

Propane is a clean alternative fuel that’s been used for decades to power light, medium, and heavy-duty propane vehicles.

Source: AFDC.energy.gov

Frequently Asked Questions

Is propane a clean alternative fuel?

Yes, the EPA considers propane as a clean alternative fuel under the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

How is propane cleaner than other vehicles?

Propane autogas vehicles cut significantly more NOx (Nitrogen oxides) and greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel and gasoline. The EPA considers propane a clean fuel. Propane is known as the number one alternative fuel around the world.

Is a propane engine viable?

Propane vehicles have been widely used and refined for decades, and a propane vehicle’s power, acceleration, and cruising speed are similar to those of conventionally fueled vehicles.

How many other school districts in Michigan are using propane in their bus fleets?

There are over 700 propane buses and over 33,000 propane vehicles in operation around the state of Michigan. Twenty-five school districts are currently using propane in their bus fleet, but that number is growing.

How safe is propane Autogas?

Propane Autogas is nontoxic, has a lower flammability range than conventional gasoline, and odorized for easy detection. Propane containers are equipped with safety devices, including pressure-relief valves, shut-off valves that detect fuel line ruptures, and overfill protection. As well as being constructed from carbon steel and are 20 times more puncture-resistant than conventional gasoline and diesel tanks. 

How do I save money by converting my bus fleet to propane?

When you switch your bus fleet to propane, you not only save on fuel costs, but maintenance costs as well. Propane does not require extra fuel conditioners like diesel, requires less oil by volume, does not require an engine block heater and engines last longer due to propane’s clean properties.

What funding is available to help get my bus fleet convert to propane?

The Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA) is offering schools $4,000 rebates—up to $16,000—when purchasing new propane buses or $2,000 rebates—up to $4,000—when purchasing used propane buses.

Click Here to Learn More

STEP 2: School Bus Propane Engines

Click Image to Enlarge

Micro Bird G5 School Bus

With their precious cargo, school bus companies take every precaution to ensure the safety of the children they transport on a daily basis. The Blue Bird Micro Bird G5 is a Type A multi-function school activity and commercial bus fueled by non-toxic, non-carcinogenic and non-corrosive propane autogas.

Peak Power & Torque

Chassis Type Power Torque
2022 E-350
325 hp @ 3750 rpm
450 ft-lbs @ 3750 rpm
2022 E-450
300 HP @ 3,800
425 lb-ft @ 3,250

Click Image to Enlarge

Blue Bird Type C School Bus

The Blue Bird Vision equipped with propane autogas fuel system provides the most tank options available of any propane-powered school bus.

Peak Power & Torque

Governed Speed Power Torque
4250 rpm
320 hp
460 lb-ft

Purchase New / Used School Buses and Maintenance through Roush and Holland Bus Co.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the torque comparable to gasoline or diesel?

Vehicles equipped with Roush CleanTech’s propane autogas fuel systems retain equivalent horsepower, torque, towing capacity and warranty coverage as gas and diesel counterparts.

How do propane buses handle cold temperatures?

Propane shines in cold temperatures. It does not require a block heater, unlike diesel, and heats the bus up quicker in the cold. Frank Miller, Fleet Manager for Brown City Community Schools in Brown City, MI, stated that their propane buses performed “absolutely perfect in the frigid cold.”

What is the average mileage range of a propane school bus on a single tank of propane?

The average mileage a Type C propane school bus can get on one tank of propane is 300-350 miles.

How big is the average propane tank on a school bus?

On average, the size of a propane tank on a Type C school bus holds about 67-93 gallons of usable propane.

Is there training available for my bus mechanics?

Yes, Roush CleanTech offers online, onsite and a 2-day training factory workshop for your bus mechanics to get trained to work on propane buses. 

Click here for more information

How much does a propane school bus cost?

On average, a Type C propane school bus costs about $108,000.

Who do I reach out to once I have chosen to convert my fleet to propane?

Once you have decided to make the switch to propane, reach out to your local propane supplier or propane bus dealer and they will get you started on converting your fleet to propane.

STEP 3: Fueling & Infrastructure

Off-site Private/Public Network On-site Standard Private Fueling Station On-site Advanced Private Fueling Station
Ownership
None, Off-site Fueling Station
On-site, Propane Supplier Owns
On-site, Propane Supplier Owns
Vehicle Access
24/7 by Keycard
24/7
24/7
Vehicle Limit
Unlimited
< 50 vehicles
50 + vehicles
Infrastructure Costs
None
District Covers Onsite Prep Costs $1,500 - $15,000 (Crash Protection, Electrical)
District Covers Onsite Prep Costs $5,000 - $75,000 (Crash Protection, Electrical)
Propane Tank Size
N/A
Propane Supplier Sets 1,000 - 3,000 Gallon Propane Tank
Propane Supplier Sets High-Capacity Propane Tank w/Canopy
Equipment Costs
None

None—if Owned by Propane Supplier

Propane Supplier Installs Pump, Meter and 1 or more Dispensers

If School District Owns Equipment:
$20,000 - $60,000

None—if Owned by Propane Supplier

Propane Supplier Installs Pump, Meter and Multiple Fuel Dispensers

If School District Owns Equipment:
$60,000 - $225,000

Propane Cost per Gallon
Negotiated with Propane Supplier
Negotiated with Propane Supplier
Negotiated with Propane Supplier

Work With Your Propane Provider to
Get the Lowest Cost Per Mile

Work With Your Propane Provider to Get the Lowest Cost Per Mile

There are 380 Propane Marketers in Michigan, Use the Map to Find One in Your Local Area

Propane Public Fueling Stations
& Service Centers

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the storage life of propane?

Unlike diesel’s one-year shelf life and gasoline’s 3 to 6 month shelf life, propane can be stored indefinitely so it is highly effective and convenient for both residential and commercial sectors.

How do I start my own private fueling station?

Contact your local propane marketer and they can offer an inexpensive lease of the tank, pump, and dispensing equipment in return for a fuel supply contract. Or, they can contact an infrastructure manufacture to purchase your own fueling equipment and shop around for propane fueling prices.

STEP 4: Funding Options

Receive up to $16,000 from the MPGA

The Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA) is offering schools $4,000 rebates—up to $16,000—when purchasing new propane buses or $2,000 rebates—up to $4,000—when purchasing used propane buses. Rebates are available first come, first serve, while funding lasts.

Vehicle qualifications include:

New Bus Qualifications Include:

  • School Buses registered and operated in Michigan
  • New Propane School Buses
  • 2020 or newer buses

Used Bus Qualifications Include:

    • School Buses registered and operated in Michigan
    • Used propane school buses (not lease)
    • 5 years or newer (2018-2024)
    • Must be first-time users of propane school buses
  • Vehicle Information 
  • Applicant information
  • Propane Marketer information
  • Attach invoice for new propane vehicle or propane retrofit system

Funding qualifications include:

Funding for New Propane Bus Qualification Include:
  • Limit of four (4) rebates per single entity ($4,000 ea.)
  • All eligible purchases must occur within 2024
  • Before receiving an MPGA Autogas rebate, all federal and state incentives must be applied, and funds may be used for incremental cost of propane vehicles vs. gasoline or diesel vehicles only
  • Deadline: Jan 1, 2024 – Dec 31, 2024
Funding for Used Propane Bus Qualification includes:
  • Limit of two (2) rebates per single entity ($2,000 ea.)
  • All eligible purchases must occur within 2024
  • Before receiving an MPGA Autogas rebate, all federal and state incentives must be applied, and funds may be used for incremental cost of propane vehicles vs. gasoline or diesel vehicles only
  • Deadline: Jan 1, 2024 – Dec 31, 2024

Return completed application in one-of-three ways:

  • Email to: mpga@kdafirm.com
  • Fax to: (517) 485-9408
  • Mail to:
    MPGA
    629 W. Hillsdale St.
    Lansing, MI 48933

Questions? Contact the Rebate Team: (517) 312-0097

Frequently Asked Questions

What funding is available to help get my bus fleet converted to propane?

The Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA) is offering schools $4,000 rebates—up to $16,000—when purchasing new propane buses or $2,000 rebates—up to $4,000—when purchasing used propane buses.

What do I need to do to get a $4,000 MPGA Autogas rebate (up to $16,000)?
  • Entities residing in Michigan where on-road vehicles are registered and operated in Michigan
  • First time purchasing a new propane vehicle or converting an existing vehicle in 2024
  • Purchase any 2020 or newer propane school bus
  • New vehicles have no more than 5,000 miles.
What do I need to do to get a $2,000 MPGA used propane school bus rebate (up to $4,000)?
  • Entities residing in Michigan where on-road vehicles are registered and operated in Michigan
  • Must be the first time purchasing used propane buses (not lease)
  • Any 2018 or newer used propane bus 
I already have propane buses, but would like to expand my propane school bus fleet, do I qualify for the rebate?

Yes, we encourage all existing fleets to apply for the MPGA’s propane vehicle rebate. However, the rebate program rewards new propane vehicle owners as a higher priority, and then considers existing propane fleets at the end of the year.

Where can I go to purchase a propane bus?

You can purchase propane vehicles straight from the manufacture or your local dealership; just let them know you would like to purchase a propane school bus.

Michigan Grants

Michigan Clean Diesel Program

COMING SOON

Includes propane vehicles. Buses, medium heavy-duty or heavy heavy-duty trucks, marine engines, locomotives, non-road engines, equipment, or vehicles used in: construction, handling of cargo (including at a port, airport, or train yard), agriculture, mining, industry and energy production.

A total of $375,960 is available. All grant proposals should be between $25,000 (the minimum) and $375,960 (the maximum).

CONTACT:
Dan Zbozien, EGLEZbozienD@Michigan.gov(517) 290-5722

More info->

Michigan Clean School Bus Funding

What:
MI Clean School Bus Grant – $125 million to purchase no- or low-greenhouse gas emission school buses, including alternative fuel vehicles, such as charging stations, as eligible expenses.

Who Can Apply:

  • Any School District
  • School District must be the applicant, no third-party vendors

What:
Propane School Buses:

  • 40% Costs Covered – prioritized school districts
  • 25% Costs Covered – non-prioritized school districts
  • 1 School Bus minimum, 10 School Bus maximum

Detail Launch:
estimated May 28, 2024

Grant Deadline:
July 12, 2024

Link to Grant: https://mapt.org/sec-74-clean-school-bus-grant/ 

Contact:
Troy Hansbarger, Michigan Dept. of Education
hansbargert@michigan.gov

Katrina Morris, Executive Director, Michigan Association of Pupil Transportation
kmorris@wsesd.org

National EPA Grants

Clean School Bus Program Rebates
Deadline: 4 pm ET on February 14th, 2024
 
Includes propane school buses or buses in service for transportation of students. EPA anticipates awarding approximately $400 million in competitive grant funding under the Clean School Bus (CSB) Grants Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).
 
CONTACT:
Clean School Bus Program
 
Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Grant

Opened: Tuesday, May 7th, 2024
Deadline: Friday, December 6th, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET

Includes propane vehicles. Eligible diesel vehicles, engines, and equipment include School buses, Class 5 – Class 8 heavy-duty highway vehicles, Locomotive engines, Marine engines, Non-road engines, equipment or vehicles used in construction, handling of cargo (including at ports or airports), agriculture, mining or energy production (including stationary generators and pumps).

CONTACT:DERA Helplinedera@epa.gov877-623-2322

Call the Rebate Team
(517) 312-0097