The Olympia Community Unit #16 School District, based in Stanford, Ill. is the third largest rural school district in Illinois covering 377 square miles. Because of its size, its administration is very conscious of fuel and maintenance costs for their school buses that travel an average of 20,000 miles per year.
Josh Olsen, Assistant Superintendent for Olympia, chose propane-fueled buses to meet the district’s needs for reliable, lower-cost buses. The district started with two propane buses and now has a total of 12 – nearly one-third of their 33 bus fleet. The rest of the fleet runs on diesel fuel.
Olsen estimates each bus saves the district $2500 per year in fuel and maintenance and is expected to serve the district for ten years. He figures that the buses will save the school district $300,000 over the ten-year life of the buses. Propane engines do not require diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) and diesel particulate filters, and oil consumption can be reduced as much as fifty percent, making propane powered buses less expensive to operate and maintain. Propane fuel costs, currently lower than diesel fuel, make up the difference and more.
The savings are not the only benefit of the propane buses. They are also quiet and cleaner-burning. “I love the fact that when our buses pull up to the schools at the beginning or end of the day, we’re not sitting there creating a cloud of fumes right outside the school,” Olsen said.
Evergreen FS, based in Bloomington, IL works closely with Olsen to supply the fuel. They also set up and continuously service and maintain the four 1000 gallon propane tanks on-site. Typically the storage onsite provides a seven to eight day supply of propane.Olsen and the school district will continue to work with Evergreen FS, who keep him up-to-date on technical advances that will make the fleet even more cost efficient over time.
Evergreen FS is a member cooperative of GROWMARK, Inc., which is a regional cooperative providing agriculture-related products and services, as well as grain marketing, in more than 40 states and Ontario, Canada. GROWMARK owns the FS trademark, which is used by affiliated member cooperatives. The FS brand represents knowledgeable, experienced professionals acting with integrity and dedication to serve more than 250,000 customers. More information is available at www.fspropane.com.