When was the last time you rode a school bus? It’s been a minute for me, but it doesn’t seem like they have changed all that much in the decade-plus since I last hopped on one. But that might be about to change, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will pay schools across the U.S. to scrap their aging diesel-powered buses in favor of cleaner alternatives.
This week, the EPA has opened submissions for its Clean School Bus Program, which will award funding to schools across the U.S. to scrap their old diesel buses and replace them with electric or liquid natural gas-powered models.
Schools can now apply for up to $375,000 to replace their inefficient diesel buses. In each case, schools must trade in a fully functioning school bus that will then be scrapped under the scheme. So districts can’t pie off their knackered, non-running old buses in favor of something new and shiny.
Any buses scrapped as part of the scheme must be from 2010 or older, should weigh 10,001 lbs or more and should serve a public school at least three days every week.
Schools that then replace these models with electric buses will get $375,000. Those opting for compressed natural gas-powered buses can get up to $40,000 and those switching to propane-powered models can claim up to $30,000.
Any schools opting for an all-electric bus can also apply for up to $20,000 to support charging infrastructure for the EVs.
Buses purchased under the scheme must serve the school districts for at least five years. They should also be from 2021 or newer, weigh more than 10,001 lbs and cannot have been ordered before the school district was selected for funding.
If you’re wondering, there are some electrically-powered school buses on the market already. There are a few in operation in Alaska already, and Chinese car maker BYD also has an EV model that could appeal to some schools.
For the 2022 rebates, the EPA has allotted $250 million for clean school buses and $250 million for zero-emission school buses. The application window will stay open until 19 August and schools should find out their fate in October this year.