EPA Clean School Bus Program
The EPA Clean School Bus Program (CSBP) is a 5-year, $5 billion program established by the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act of 2021, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The program provides funding for school districts to invest in electric school buses, as well as propane and compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses, and related charging infrastructure.
The program prioritizes school districts that are low-income, rural, and Tribal. EPA aims to distribute $1 billion each year through 2026 in the form of grants and rebates. Below are resources for advocates, school districts and other stakeholders interested in learning more about the program.
In 2022, EPA launched the first round of funding through rebates, awarding $965 million to over 400 school districts for more than 2,500 new school buses, 95 percent of which are electric, the best option for children. Read on for resources related to this funding opportunity for a #CleanRide4Kids!
Frequently Asked Questions
Electric school bus pricing depends on many factors, including manufacturer and class, ranging between $225,000 to $375,000 — about three to four times the cost of a diesel school bus.
While electric school buses may have a high upfront cost, after purchase they cost less to maintain and less to operate than diesel buses. Electric school buses don’t need gas, air filters or oil changes; they have significantly fewer parts (2,000 for diesel versus 20 parts for electric buses) and run more efficiently. Their tires and brakes receive less wear and can lengthen the time between replacements. By switching to electric school buses, school districts could save thousands of dollars in the long-term, especially if they use managed charging. Studies estimate cost savings for school districts of at least $2,000 to $4,400 annually, including reducing fueling costs by at least 40%. That adds up to tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a bus — about $3 billion in fuel savings for all school districts. These fuel savings can vary depending on the school districts’ electricity needs and utility rates, but even then, electricity pricing has been more stable than diesel fuel prices.
As electric vehicle technology improves, their cost will continue to go down. Battery prices, for example, have already dropped 89% since 2010. Electric school buses are predicted to reach cost parity with diesel buses as soon as 2025 or potentially the next five or six years to decade.
The sticker price is only one factor of an electric school bus. There are health and environmental costs to putting our children on fossil fuel buses. Electric school buses protect children’s health and academic experience, and reduce pollution from our communities.
Field trips within the 100-mile range or with charging opportunities en route are definitely possible.
Yes. Electric school buses are purpose-built to protect students, and their batteries are subject to high safety standards and multiple safety mechanisms to prevent failures or “thermal events.” While fires are extremely rare with any type of school bus, they’re even less likely for electric vehicles. First-responders and transportation staff must be trained to understand how to properly maintain batteries and respond to emergencies.
Propane school buses rely on fuel with volatile pricing. Propane prices, like gas and diesel prices, are at the mercy of global oil markets and are vulnerable to price spikes. In times of international conflict or other supply chain strains, propane prices are particularly volatile. Electric school buses, meanwhile, rely on electricity prices that have remained stable over the last few decades.
Moreover, propane school buses, like electric school buses, require fueling infrastructure updates. School districts would have to contract out for fuel deliveries and install new pumps and tanks. They would need to work closely with vendors and fuel companies, sign another fueling contract, and train drivers and mechanics on how to fuel and maintain a propane school bus. The EPA Clean School Bus Program does not provide funding for propane infrastructure.
While propane school buses have a lower sticker price than electric school buses, that upfront cost does not account for the cost of pollution on human health and the economy. Electric school buses provide greater savings and protection for students, drivers and communities.
- All Resources
- Grant Resources
- Rebate Resources