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Take the Bus – Save the Planet!

2013 September 6

By Christine Koester

It’s that time of year again. Hard to believe but summer is quickly coming to a close as students head back to school. Between classroom visits to meet the teacher and buying new school supplies, you’ve probably noticed yellow buses driving around the neighborhood. This year, school buses will provide rides to more than 25 million students and travel about four billion miles – that’s enough to go to the sun and back about 20 times! Whether you wait at the stop each morning with your children or you have memories of frantic dashes down the sidewalk to catch it, the school bus has been a big part of American education for generations.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, school buses are by far the safest way for kids to get to school. The buses’ size and design, and the drivers’ training, help them avoid accidents. Buses also do great things to decrease fuel consumption and traffic congestion. In the US, buses use 2.3 billion gallons less fuel every year than if everyone drove their children to school.

School districts, bus manufacturers, and government are working to make school buses even better. New school buses pollute much less than they used to, and devices added to older buses cut their exhaust. Many school districts also have rules against idling to further reduce children’s exposure to bus pollution. We’re helping with all of this: EPA has provided grants over the last five years to replace buses or reduce pollution from more than 20,000 buses. Last year, we also gave out rebates through a lottery. The winners – 28 communities across the country – will have 80 new clean technology buses to take children to school this fall, cutting pollution and saving fuel.

Every time students take the bus, they are getting a safe, clean, and environmentally friendly ride, and parents have peace of mind (and a bonus: they spend less on gas). Best of luck to all students on the upcoming school year!

To learn more about EPA’s Clean School Bus program, please visit

About the author: Christine Koester has been part of the EPA since 2010 and currently works as an environmental protection specialist in the Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. Nazrul I. Khandaker permalink
    September 6, 2013

    Great post. How about others using MTA Bus? With increasing number of riders, MTA should also ensure clean interior since many buses nowadays are not meeting this expectation. Saving planet also means cleaner and healthier environment as well.

  2. wade permalink
    September 9, 2013

    I notice many school busses in our little town here in Ninety Six, SC, but am amazed at the number of parents that bring their children to school. Almost all idle engines while waiting to pick up children after school. Sometimes I pass by on the way to my farm 10 or 15 minutes before end of classes and cars are there with engines running. It seems that many schools, just like our 2 new schools, are built way out of town which prohibits anyone walking to school like we did when I was growing up.

  3. boxing exercises permalink
    September 9, 2013


  4. fredajohnsons permalink
    September 11, 2013

    Yea its great Christine it’s a true but i also take the bus at many times Christine can you tell me if we choose some other color buses then something will be wrong?????????????

  5. Steve Sunday permalink
    September 11, 2013

    Christine, wonderful article… My company has been working on the idling issues on school buses for several years now. Please contact me when you can, I would like to share with you what we have been up to..


  6. Rajagopalan K permalink
    September 11, 2013

    I work for a School transportation company here in UAE (the Middle-East as you would easily recognize it) and I am glad you chose to write on this topic. I wish there was some way of injecting the concept of safety and a better environment into the minds of people who, despite getting lined up in the heavy rush, still choose to bring their children every day.

    Keep up your good work. Thanks.


  7. Keith Hecht permalink
    January 23, 2014

    This is great information. Thank you for publishing this.
    Best blog about auto transport Must share with others.

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