School buses have long been seen as a more environmentally friendly option for transportation. They can take many people to the same place using the same fuel source, which is undoubtedly better than each person driving separately.
However, it's important to look at the whole picture when considering environmental friendliness. School buses use significantly more fuel than smaller vehicles. This is especially true when you think all of the time that the engine spends idling.
In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of the reasons why school buses aren't as green as you might think as well as a more environmentally friendly option.It's a common misconception that school buses are the most environmentally friendly way to transport students. Here's why they may not be as green as you think! Click To Tweet
Idling creates pollution
An idling vehicle can be hazardous on different levels from an environmental perspective. Not only does it produce emissions that negatively impact air quality, but also running an engine unnecessarily wastes fuel and money.
School buses that run on diesel fuel emit particulate matter and nitrogen oxides – both of which are linked to a variety of health problems.
Exhaust from a school bus can be especially harmful to children, who are more susceptible to air pollution than adults. It can cause respiratory problems and increase the risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
It's important to remember that even if your child doesn't ride the bus, emissions from idling buses can still impact their health. That's because particulate matter can travel long distances, and even a small amount can be harmful.
Older vehicles process fossil fuels less efficiently
School buses tend to be relatively old vehicles. In 2016, the average age of a school bus was 12 years old. This is due to the fact that school buses are built to last – they have to be tough enough to withstand the wear and tear of transporting kids back and forth to school every day.
If the school bus is old, that could substantially affect the environmental costs of keeping the bus on the road. Newer vehicles have much better fuel efficiency, thanks to advances in engine design and more fuel-efficient transmissions. They also have better emissions control equipment, which reduces the pollution that comes out of the tailpipe.
So if school buses are older, that means they're probably less fuel-efficient and produce more emissions. That's not good news for the environment – or the school district's budget.
Modern vehicles keep sustainably in mind
Modern school buses tend to be designed with a bit more efficiency in mind. For example, some buses have solar panels built into the roof. This helps to power onboard electronics, such as lights and air conditioning, without drawing any extra power from the engine.
Additionally, many newer buses come equipped with start-stop technology. This shuts down the engine when the bus is stopped at a red light or in traffic, and automatically restarts it when the driver takes their foot off the brake. This can save a lot of fuel since an idling engine uses about a gallon of fuel per hour.
When kids get rides from Zum transportation or other new buses, they'll use vehicles that use energy more efficiently, resulting in fewer emissions. And that's good news for everyone.
The vehicle might be smaller, but it will make up for it with better miles per gallon.
As you can see, school buses aren't as green as you might think. While they do have some benefits in terms of energy use, there are plenty of drawbacks with them. Newer, more sustainable options are available that can provide a better experience for everyone involved. When it comes to environmental friendliness, it's important to consider all factors involved.
Zum is one transportation company that is working hard to create a more sustainable future for kids everywhere. Consider using their services next time you need to transport children somewhere!
I was a school bus driving instructor for over 2 decades. While it is true that old diesels from 30 years ago tended to emit dirty exhaust, buses from the 1990’s even used newer diesel technology that made emissions invisible. Our diesels averaged 9 miles per gallon and our gasoline busses about 6 miles per gallon. I don’t know about your state, but California has had laws for years that require bus drivers to shut off their engines upon parking at any school or in a situation where the bus would need to idle. Contrast that to the hundreds of idling cars clogging the streets around each school. Very few parents shut off their cars when they want to run an a/c or heater. Next, you allege running more smaller vehicles might be a better option. Looking at your link to Zum Transportation’s website they picture non-school bus options. More vehicles use more fuel. However, what you overlook is safety. California, the leader in school transportation safety, prohibits the use of anything but the use of a school bus for the transportation of students. School busses are built with a steel cage capable of supporting the weight of the bus without it collapsing. Safety rails are on the sides of the bus to prevent damage in a side impact collision. School busses are typically higher than cars, keeping students above the area where they would be likely close to an impact should an auto hit the school bus. Now, back to the title of your article. If you want to attack the “green-ness” of school busses, attack the fact that the new natural gas busses are lucky to get 3 miles per gallon or the electric bus that uses a bank of batteries that the environmental footprint to create and dispose of hasn’t even been explored.
Home Jobs By Mom
Thank you so much for that in-depth and knowledgeable comment on school buses!!
All well and good, but the school corporations are the ones you’ll have to convince.
Home Jobs By Mom
Very true – tuition-based schools are probably more likely to take on a more green school bus than public schools.
Fair point. It will probably depend on economic factors….
Home Jobs By Mom
Yes, very true! Maybe one day school buses will be more green