Benefits of Electric School Buses
Each year, 25 million U.S. children ride on more than 480,000 school buses each year — and nearly 95 of these school buses run on diesel, a fossil fuel that has been shown to harm human health, worsening or leading to illnesses like asthma, bronchitis, and even cancer. Each year, pollution from cars, trucks, and other vehicles cuts short an estimated 58,000 lives, and increases the risk of lung cancer, stroke, and heart disease; this is all the more dangerous for children whose lungs and brains are still developing, making them more vulnerable. Air pollution also makes people more vulnerable to respiratory diseases like COVID-19.
This disproportionately impacts low-income communities and Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other communities of color, who are already more likely to be living in areas with dirtier air and are more likely to suffer — and die — from illnesses like asthma. Asthma is the number one chronic illness for children, the #1 cause of school absences, and has no cure.
There is a clear solution: Electric school buses. Transitioning to all-electric school bus fleets would prevent the release of 5.3 million tons of climate pollutants each year, and protect students’ (and drivers’) lungs by keeping diesel exhaust out of the air inside and outside of the buses. In addition to the direct public health benefits, electric school buses can improve community resilience by offering backup power sources in emergency situations and help school districts save thousands of dollars each year in maintenance and operation costs. Since diesel pollution has been found to affect students’ test scores and school attendance, electric school buses could even improve academic performance.
Over 1,800 electric school buses have been committed in communities in 354 school districts or fleet operators throughout 36 states, and interest in electric school buses has grown 50 percent over the last six months — yet electric models comprise less than 1% of all school buses in the United States.
We need electric school buses now.
- Zero tailpipe emissions
- Reduced environmental impact
- Quieter ride — no engine running!
- Improved student, driver and public health
- Cost savings on maintenance and fuel
- Better academic outcomes
- Community resilience with Vehicle-to-Grid-enabled buses
Check out some of the research papers written by AESB coalition members — some which have pioneered studies on electric school buses: