September 4, 2019

Media: “The Red Lights Stopping Yellow School Buses from Going Green” in WIRED

By Bellwether

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Today, I have a new op-ed in WIRED about what can be learned from recent programs piloting the use of electric school buses. These buses are better for the environment and students’ health, but currently make up less than one percent of the 480,000 school buses operating in the United States.
The piece was informed by research from our recent report, “From Yellow to Green: Reducing School Transportation’s Impact on the Environment,” which examines several concrete strategies for making school transportation more environmentally friendly, including transitioning from diesel school buses to electric ones.
Here’s an excerpt from my op-ed:

The combined costs of new electric buses and specialized charging stations are too high for districts to cover on their own. The districts in California, Massachusetts, and New York each relied on grants and subsidies from state agencies, utility companies, and other sources to fund the initial purchases for their pilot programs.
Electrifying school bus fleets is clearly still in its early stages. But electric buses can benefit the environment, improve students’ health, and ultimately lead to savings. Moreover, they eliminate the irony of a vehicle that helps imperil the planet transporting children to and from the place where they learn about our imperiled planet. Electric buses can even be used to help students learn about clean energy and environmental issues hands-on.
[…] The good news is that the cost of electric buses is likely to come down over time as their batteries become cheaper. The latest BloombergNEF analysis predicts that the “crossover point,” when electric vehicles become less expensive than combustion-engine equivalents, will begin in 2022. In the meantime, advocates, experts, and the public need to educate leaders and policymakers about the benefits of electric buses and other ways to immediately reduce school transportation’s impact on the environment.

Read the rest of my piece on WIRED, and check out our new policy brief here.

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