California Energy Commission Works to Replace State’s Oldest, Most Polluting School Buses

The California Energy Commission is helping schools throughout the state transition from old, polluting diesel school buses to zero- or low-emissions vehicles, improving children’s health by limiting their exposure to transportation-related air pollution and building the green economy.

More than $94 million is available through the School Bus Replacement Program for public school districts, county offices of education, and joint power authorities, most of which will support replacing old diesel school buses with pollution-free electric vehicles.

Priority is being given to grants applicants in disadvantaged, low-income communities, which are disproportionately affected by air pollution and other consequences of petroleum-powered transportation, including health problems related to low air quality. Award recipients converting to electric buses will also benefit from cost savings on fuel and repairs.

Up to $75 million was allocated to the program by Senate Bill 110 to replace the oldest school buses in California. These funds, which will be used to purchase electric buses, were appropriated from the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39). Voters approved the initiative in 2012 to fund projects that improve energy efficiency and expand clean energy generation, creating clean energy jobs.

Other funds for the school bus program comes from the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). The ARFVTP spurs innovations in a broad portfolio of alternative fuels and transportation that help California meet its ambitious air quality, petroleum reduction, and climate change goals.

For the school bus program, ARFVTP allocated $13 million for EV charging infrastructure, $3.7 for purchase of compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, and $2.4 million for CNG fueling infrastructure. The ARFVTP will also fund training for drivers and maintenance technicians, fostering statewide job growth.

The deadline to file grant applications is 5 p.m. on September 20, 2018. For more information, visit the School Bus Replacement Program’s webpage.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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