School Bus Electrification Campaigns Take Off

Across the country, local organizers are turning their attention to school districts, pushing more education leaders to do their part to address the climate crisis.

Climate Dads is partnering with environmental, public health, education and transportation leaders in the Philly region to focus on the dirty diesel buses transporting our kids to school.

Electric buses can emit 60% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than diesel vehicles, while significantly reducing other harmful air pollutants. In a city like Philadelphia where asthma rates are among the highest in the country, addressing tailpipe emissions should be a priority.

Electric buses offer fuel and maintenance savings -- on average, $2,000 in fuel and $4,000 in avoided maintenance per bus per year. Plus progressive leaders see buses as options for utility battery storage. Dominion Energy Virginia plans to spend $13.5 million replacing 50 diesel buses with electric vehicles over the next year.

While Philadelphia's mass transit agency is committed to purchasing electric buses, few within the region are focusing on electric options for schools. The upfront costs seem to deter many school officials, especially in underfunded districts such as Philadelphia.

Electric School Bus Research Project
Climate Dads Ben Block and Jason Sandman, Clean Air Council's Transportation Outreach Coordinator Will Fraser, Sophia McConnell of Bryn Mawr College and Diane Moore of Haverford College

In response, Climate Dads is leading a coalition to identify third-party funding sources and to encourage the Philadelphia School District to pilot a few electric buses. We are very fortunate to receive research support from students at Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College. The result of their research will be available for the public in early 2020.

Our efforts in Philadelphia mirror grassroots movements underway nationwide. Check out Green For All's #FuelChange campaign. Other sources of inspiration include Climate Parents' 100% Clean Energy School Districts campaign and the Schools for Climate Action climate resolution.

Stay tuned for more details on our efforts in Philly as well as campaigns across the country. Join our mailing list

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