Dot’s Reading Room: Electric School Buses ~ 1,000 in California, 18 in Massachusetts

Electric school buses are taking students back to school – bringing cleaner air and lower maintenance costs to school districts across the country. Writing in The Conversation on August 14, author Andrea Marpillero-Colomina, an adjunct lecturer in Urban Studies, The New School, disclosed that she doesn’t benefit in any way from the companies and organizations mentioned.  Marpillero-Colomina’s full article,, is excerpted below.

Dot’s Reading Room

“Each weekday, more than half of the K-12 students in the U.S. – over 25 million pupils – ride a school bus. Until very recently, nearly all of these 500,000 buses ran on diesel fuel.

“Nationwide, diesel-powered school buses produce more than 5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. They also generate air pollutants that are harmful to children’s health – especially fine particulates. Studies show that exposure to diesel tailpipe emissions worsens respiratory conditions, decreases lung function, and can lead to increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits.”

California has more than 1000 in service, Massachusetts 18 (click to see national map)

Yes, electric buses are expensive: “An electric school bus can cost up to $400,000two to three times the price of a diesel bus. But electric buses have lower operating costs, so they save districts an estimated $4,000 to $11,000 per bus per year compared with diesel versions. That can make the costs of electric buses comparable over their lifetimes.

“Electric buses can also become power sources. Manufacturers are introducing buses equipped with bidirectional charging capability that can send stored electricity back to the grid when they are not in service. During summer months, when many school buses are not in use and power usage often peaks, utilities soon may be able to call on school districts to make charged buses available to help ease demand load. These buses can also be used as mobile generators during power outages and emergencies.”

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