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Fleet of propane school buses delivered to South Carolina

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Blanchard Bus Centers delivered 26 propane-powered school buses to Summerville Friday. The South Carolina Department of Education purchased the new Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses to replace the aging diesel buses.

“While the South Carolina Department of Education is a low-bid state, we had heard about the propane technology that Blue Bird propane buses possess from various sources,” said Mike Bullman, director of maintenance for the state agency. “With aging diesel buses in our fleet, it was time to replace them and propane was the option we thought worked best financially and environmentally speaking over the long-term.”

These clean-operating propane buses represent the largest order of alternative-fueled school buses that the state has placed in the last 30 years. The Blue Bird Vision Propane buses emit 80% fewer smog-producing hydrocarbons and will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by over 40,600 pounds and particulate matter by more than 825 pounds each year compared with the diesel buses being replaced.

“We’re pleased to offer alternative fuel options for school buses,” said Joe Blanchard, president of Blanchard Bus Centers, a unit of West Columbia-based Blanchard Machinery. “We believe the state of South Carolina will begin to see immediate benefits from these new ‘clean’ buses. The financial savings should be noticeable from the beginning. An average propane bus saves a school district up to $3,500 per year in fuel costs alone.”

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