Carmel increases number of propane-powered school buses to cut down on emissions

CARMEL, Ind.-- Over the past few years, researchers have found links between diesel-fueled school bus emissions and an increased cancer risk in children.

The Carmel Clay School District and others across the state are working to make their school buses safer for their students.

Gabe Filipelli, a Department of Earth Sciences professor at IUPUI, says constantly being around diesel-fueled emissions is the equivalent of smoking nine packs of cigarettes a year.

"Diesel emissions have a pretty profoundly negative impact on people," Filipelli said.

The Carmel Clay School District received a $50,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Energy Development and U.S. Department of Energy. The district will use it to purchase five new propane-powered buses, increasing the number of propane-powered buses in the fleet to 14.

"There's times two times a day that the buses are gathered in one spot and running for a period of time and the students are right there,"  Director of Facilities and Transportation Ron Farrand said.

The district is waiting for companies to develop bigger propane-fueled buses to eventually replace all of the buses.

"If you can get it out of schools and school buses you’re gonna have a net win for the future," Filipelli said.

The Coalition for Clean Air estimates 23 to 46 of every one million children may eventually develop cancer from diesel exhaust while traveling to and from school.

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