How Natural Gas Powers Education

In one San Diego community, school buses logged 250,000 miles last year, transporting students to and from school, and one local school district has been making big changes to help make this mode of transporation cleaner.

Remember the excitement of taking a school bus? From the morning ride to school where more friends joined at each stop before reaching the school yard – to the joy of getting to ride a bus to a museum, zoo, or other San Diego landmark– a lot of memories are made on the bus.

In one San Diego community, school buses logged 250,000 miles last year, transporting students to and from school, and one local school district has been making big changes to help make this mode of transportation cleaner. 

What began as a handful of students in a one-room school house in 1892 to supporting nearly 30,000 students in 45 schools today, the Chula Vista Elementary School District has not only expanded its fleet of buses to accommodate its growing population, but also started converting older diesel engines to compressed natural gas (CNG) engines more than a decade ago.

With nearly 30 percent of their bus fleet running on clean natural gas, the school district is ensuring that all students who ride the bus every day to school and home are being transported on CNG-powered buses, helping to clean the air we breathe and build healthier communities. This year, the school district expects to reach a total of 4,000,000 miles powered by clean natural gas leading to a reduction of 78,369,925 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions!

“We’re very proud of our transportation department and the resources they have put into making sure our fleet runs cleaner,” said Theron Neal, Director of Transportation for Chula Vista Elementary School District. “It’s important that we are responsible stewards of not only transporting the students back and forth, but doing so in an efficient manner and one that reduces pollution in the communities that we serve.”

Saving money, enhancing education and cleaning the air

Choosing natural gas provides the school district with many benefits, such as lower fuel and maintenance costs which translate into savings that are then put back into the classroom to help pay for supplies and other resources. But beyond the savings, school district officials like that natural gas is a cleaner fuel source than diesel, with fewer carbon emissions emitted into our communities. And that’s a lesson that can be brought into the classroom.

“When we practice alternative energy and conservation in real life, we are modeling important lessons for our students that teach them about being responsible stewards of the earth,” said Anthony Millican, Communications Director for the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

Important lessons today for students can translate into good grades for our environment well into the future, as future generations embrace a goal of achieving a cleaner environment.

Watch this video to learn more about why CVESD and other San Diego companies are converting their fleets from diesel to CNG: