Electric school buses set to replace diesels due to climate concerns

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The yellow American school bus could soon get a green and environmentally friendly makeover.


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The yellow American school bus could soon get a green and environmentally friendly makeover. Electric school buses are set to replace gas-guzzling diesel buses as air quality gets even worse and concerns about climate change grow. A vast majority of school buses in the United States use diesel fuel to run, but that leaves the air polluted with exhaust fumes. In large cities with several buses and the air quality already not very good, school buses are very real contributors to air pollution.

The kids who ride these buses and breathe diesel fumes the whole time they travel. In some cases, children may be on the bus for an hour or two to get home. They are inhaling diesel exhaust the entire time. Children have smaller lungs and are more susceptible to damage from air pollution. School buses are a great place to start if we are looking to protect the health of children. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that long-term exposure to harmful air pollutants can cause asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

An Associated Press article reports that 25 million American schoolchildren take a school bus and that approximately 480,000 school buses are in service. Less than 1% of them are electric. The rest is diesel and flue gas, but it becomes evident that this is not sustainable in the long run. Steps have been taken to transition to all-electric buses and some school districts are leading the way.

yellow school bus story

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Miami-Dade County Public Schools just voted to switch to electric buses over the next two years. The request first came to their board of directors by a 10-year-old student. A large school district in Maryland is leading the way for this change. They will replace all 1,442 diesel buses with electric buses by 2035. The entire state of California is also trying to get involved. Californians are well known for being concerned about their health and the environment. The state authorized funding to purchase 1,167 electric school buses. The plan is to buy another 1,000 over the next three years.

In northern California, the Twin Rivers Unified School District has already gone electric and has seen positive differences. The district now uses 40 electric buses and 34 natural gas. School officials said the smoke and exhaust clouds were gone. A district bus driver noticed this difference and couldn’t believe how much cleaner the air was.

This is a movement that can be brought to Congress to help pay the cost of these changes. Diesel buses that are only getting older are expensive to maintain, but electric buses cost a bit to buy to start.

Source: Associated Press, Environmental Protection Agency


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