31 Southeastern School Districts Selected for EPA Electric School Bus Funding

Dory Larsen | May 29, 2024 | Clean Transportation, Electric Vehicles

SACE congratulates the students and community members of over 31 school districts in the Southeast on receiving funding through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Rebate Program to make their communities cleaner and safer while improving their transportation budget’s bottom line. 354 electric buses will be rolling into the Southeast (3,400 nationwide) providing $114 million in savings to their local school districts. To date, the program has funded almost $3 billion nationally and 1,392 electric buses in our region! 

Kids who ride electric school buses to school are getting a healthier trip to school. One that is not exposing their developing lungs to asthma and cancer causing pollution because electric school buses don’t have a tailpipe like fossil-fueled buses. 

Additionally, electric school buses account for less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of diesel- or propane-burning buses, helping us lower the risk of a warming planet. For communities across the Southeast that are ground zero for rising heat, sea-levels, and catastrophic hurricanes knowing that these buses reduce carbon pollution that is driving these threats is a double benefit. 

Additionally, the economics of implementing electric buses mean real savings for the school district because the lifetime cost of operating those vehicles is significantly lower. The EPA incentive reduces the higher upfront cost of an electric school bus. And because electric buses (and all electric vehicles) have much lower fueling and maintenance costs, these incentives make the total cost of ownership significantly less than their diesel counterparts. This makes them a win on many fronts. Electric school buses are healthier, safer, and cheaper for our communities. 

One key aspect of the rebate program is that funding is delivered upfront. The EPA designates the awards as “rebates”, however, funds are sent to winning recipients before they have to pay for the bus or charging station. Recipients can place their order as soon as they’ve been notified and send EPA proof of their purchase. The EPA will then send the winner their awarded funds. This upfront funding is a critical way to overcome the budget shortfalls many school districts are facing. For low-income or historically under-resourced communities that have not had access to capital and financial resources this is especially important.

This round of EPA Clean School Bus funding will provide $940 million and do more than just support our health and environmental objectives; it offers a practical approach to strengthen our school districts and keep our communities at the forefront of innovation and financial responsibility.

By embracing these opportunities, we can foster thriving communities that support both our current needs and our long-term aspirations. 

Dory Larsen
Dory joined the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in 2017 and was named Senior Electric Transportation Program Manager in 2023. She is working to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles…
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