Costs and Performance Affect Electric School Bus Decisions

In California, the country’s first electric school buses rolled off the assembly line almost ten years ago. By the end of 2023, less than 1% of the 489,000 school buses in the United States were electric. Nonetheless, during the past two years, the quantity of electric school buses that are in operation or that have been bought from a manufacturer has more than tripled. The non-profit World Resources Institute, or WRI, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., is the source of that information through its Electric School Bus Initiative. According to the WRI, the number of kids using electric school buses has increased tenfold — from around 20,000 in 2020 to 200,000 in just three years. How many states have legislation governing electric buses?


It might be challenging to persuade local authorities to locate funding sources for electric school buses when individuals and groups support their use. Alicia Cox stated, “It’s just a matter of breaking down these barriers.” In Jackson, Wyoming, she is a mother of two children. She is the only state without a single school district that has an electric bus either in service or on order. The second-grader son of Cox frequently takes a diesel bus to school. One of the main issues with electric school buses, according to parents and municipal officials, is their expense. Electric buses are two to three times more expensive than diesel-fueled buses, even after accounting for the fuel and maintenance savings.


According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is a $5 billion program in place for buses with no emissions. The funding originates from an infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden’s administration had the US Congress adopt in 2021. A total of around $1.8 billion in grants and rebates have already been disbursed. Replacing thousands of buses in several hundred US school districts is the aim of the federal funding. According to Christine Koester, the demand for the funds has been “heartening.” She works with the EPA as a director of the Clean School Bus Program.

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