To put yourself on the road to preserving the ecology and your own economy, it may pay to take the bus.
Public transit and school buses replace a significant number of cars on the road, making them an environmentally sound transportation option. Using public transportation saves the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually. Research shows that by using public transit, the typical automobile driver can reduce individual daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds or more than 4,800 pounds per year. A single school bus can eliminate approximately 36 cars. With more than 480,000 school buses on the road each day, that’s nearly 17.3 million fewer vehicles on the streets, saving an estimated 2.3 billion gallons of fuel each year as well as reducing congestion, emissions and road wear and tear.
“Today’s buses are more environmentally friendly than ever before, thanks to cleaner-burning engines, specialized particulate filters and alternative fuels,” notes Gary Catapano, senior vice president for
Safety at FirstGroup America, the largest provider of ground transportation services in North America.
New fuel standards require the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel, which improves emissions and runs significantly cleaner. Emissions have been reduced from more than 500 parts per million to less than 15 with ultra-low sulfur diesel.
Most of his company’s buses “use ultra-low sulfur diesel and 750 run on compressed natural gas, an even cleaner-running fuel than diesel,” adds Catapano.
Typical school bus engines burn about half a gallon of fuel per hour of idling. Cutting back on idling not only reduces emissions; it saves significantly on fuel costs. The school bus division strictly enforces an anti-idling policy, stating that no bus will idle in excess of three minutes while not in transit unless certain exceptions exist.
Transportation companies are taking other steps to reduce their carbon footprint through waste recycling programs. For example, Catapano’s company’s program recycles more than 250,000 pounds of used oil filters annually throughout North America and will recycle enough used oil to eliminate 5,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases a year. The company recycles 7 percent of all waste including cardboard and glass, which represents more than 20,000 cubic yards per year of material that’s not going into landfills.
You can learn more about how green a bus can be online at www.firstgroupamerica.com.