High Demand for Electric School Buses Leads to EPA Fund Increase

In response to higher demand than expected from public schools for funding under the new Clean School Bus Program, the US EPA just increased funds available to replace diesel school buses with electric ones. Photo: Megan Lee/Unsplash.

Funds Doubled

“America’s school districts delivered this message loud and clear: We must replace older, dirty diesel school buses,″ says EPA Administrator Michael Regan. And fortunately, his agency is providing the funds needed for school districts across the country to do just that.

Indeed, in response to high demand from schools, the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program is now making more money available than before.

Created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act passed last fall, the program will offer a total of $5 billion over five years to help public schools replace dirty diesel buses with primarily electric ones.

Expecting lower demand in the first year of the new program, the EPA made an initial amount of $500 million available in May 2022. About four months later, a decision was made to boost available funds just shy of $1 billion. With funds now doubled, public schools have a better chance to better their environment and the health of their students.

Health Improvements

About 25 million students ride a school bus every day. Replacing diesel school buses with zero-emission electric ones will clean up the air inside buses and give students a healthier ride to school. Photo: epa.gov.

With the Clean School Bus Program available for public schools, there is equal opportunity to improve the health of students, clean up the climate, and boost the economy. Reducing diesel emissions can help better air quality, decrease climate pollution, develop job opportunities, and reduce the risk of asthma and other health conditions.

Along with improving health, the National Education Association believes that electric school buses will improve the attitude and safety of the students. Since EV buses run much more quietly than diesel buses, students are generally quieter and better behaved, staying in their seats and complying better with instructions from the driver. Improved student experience in the bus will lead to a more engaged student in the classroom.

Who’s Driving This Bus

Some drivers say that ESBs are more fun and easier to drive than diesel school buses. Photo: Generation 180.

As we know, the bus driver is just as important as the vehicle. With improved technology, public schools hope to gain more interest from new applicants to relieve the labor shortage of the last few years. The push for new technologies, training programs, and long-term job opportunities will help the economy while improving the lives of students as well as the life of our planet.

Are bus drivers open to swapping the diesel bus they know for a new electric ride? After many drivers have gotten behind the wheel of an ESB, they have found them to be more fun and even easier to drive.

What’s Next

Applications from schools for the 2022 Clean School Bus Program Rebate closed in September. Now the EPA has begun to review over 2,000 applications from public schools and the agency hopes to respond soon. With about 90% of the applications requesting zero-emissions school buses, the other ten requesting for propane-fueled or compressed natural gas buses, there will be great increase in electric school buses. Currently only 1% of over 400,000 school buses nationwide run on electricity so there’s plenty of room to grow America’s EV school bus fleet.

Secure Futures has been working with several of our solar customers at K-12 schools who are trying to get or have already gotten electric buses to run those buses on solar power. The idea is a simple one: if your school is going to the trouble to get a clean EV bus, then why settle for plugging it into the dirty electrical grid? A clean bus is only really clean when it runs on clean power. And the best way to make that happen is by getting solar panels on campus to generate clean energy for your new EV buses.

You can visit our Electric School Buses + Solar Charging page to learn more about what we are up to!

Written by: Staff Author