San Diego Metropolitan Transit System deploys propane buses

Dec. 8, 2016
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System rolled out its new fleet of 77 buses fueled by emissions-reducing, economical propane autogas.

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System rolled out its new fleet of 77 buses fueled by emissions-reducing, economical propane autogas. The alternatively fueled buses help the agency reduce its operating costs, and will reduce emissions by 2 million pounds per year.

“This is a great example of how MTS is realizing cost-savings and helping communities reduce emissions,” said MTS Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski. “MTS will save about $5.8 million over the five to seven-year lifecycle of the vehicles and reduce the carbon intensity by 71 percent.”

MTS purchased 31 minibuses and 46 paratransit buses fueled by propane. All propane-fueled buses will be stationed at the agency’s Copley Park Division in Kearny Mesa where MTS operates 178 paratransit vehicles and 37 minibuses. In addition to paratransit services, the division covers 30 bus routes and serves about 1.3 million passengers annually. With the switch to propane, 35 percent of the Copley Park fleet is now operating on clean, alternative fuel.

The minibuses are built on the Ford F-550 chassis and the paratransit buses are built on the Ford E-450 chassis. Each model features a Ford 6.8L V10 engine with a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system.

Propane autogas is a low carbon alternative fuel that reduces greenhouse gases by up to 25 percent, 60 percent less carbon monoxide, and fewer particulate emissions versus gasoline.

Over the lifetime of the fleet, more than 7.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide will be eliminated from MTS’s total carbon footprint — the equivalent of taking 747 passenger vehicles off the road for a year according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s equivalencies calculator.

“MTS is doing its part to reduce harmful emissions around the San Diego community by implementing buses fueled by propane autogas,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing at ROUSH CleanTech. “Propane autogas is a cleaner burning, domestically produced alternative fuel that also lowers total ownership costs.”

Historically, propane autogas costs 40 percent less than gasoline and up to 50 percent less than diesel. The current gasoline price MTS pays is $1.99 per gallon and the propane price is $1.39 per gallon. The paratransit vehicles travel 40,000 miles annually and the minibuses travel 45,000 miles annually.

The California Air Resources Board and EPA certify the ROUSH CleanTech Ford E-450 and F-550 buses for sale in all 50 states. The ROUSH CleanTech Ford E-450 has completed Federal Transit Administration’s New Model Bus Testing Program (“Altoona Testing”) and can be purchased using a transit agency’s FTA funds.

ROUSH CleanTech has deployed almost 14,000 propane autogas vehicles to fleets across America. Of those, about 800 operate in the transit industry.

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