City celebrates 14 new propane-fueled school busses

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu in the driver’s seat of the new propane-fueled buses. Credit/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, N.H. – State and local leaders gathered on Thursday to welcome over a dozen new propane-fueled buses to the city’s school bus fleet.

Culminating a five-year process that New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said will serve as a model for other similar projects in the state, the 14 new school buses are fueled by propane autogas will replace 18-year-old diesel vehicles, primarily in the city’s downtown area.

The buses are quieter than the older buses, can start in temperatures up to -50 degrees Fahrenheit and are expected to produce 96 percent less nitrogen oxide emissions. That last point is crucial in the age of COVID-19 according to Jessica Wilcox, Alternative Fuels Director for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and spokesperson for the Granite State Clean Cities Coalition.

Wilcox also said that emissions from the older diesel buses cause health problems for children.

“We face a critical to protect the air that we’re breathing right now,” she said.

All 14 buses cost a total of $1.675 million with $750,000 coming from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Settlement and the rest coming Manchester School District and Manchester Transit Authority funds.

The Manchester Transit Authority operates 81 buses and 122 buses in total.