Comparison of In-Use Operating Costs of Hybrid-Electric and Conventional School Buses


Hybrid-electric school buses became available in the US through a national consortium designed to bring hybrid-electric school buses to market by creating enough demand among school districts to encourage manufacturers to invest in development of the technology. A number of school districts in the US joined the HESB project to purchase plug-in hybrid-electric school buses. Sixteen hybrid-electric school buses were purchased and piloted in 11 states. Two of the hybrid-electric school buses were purchased by the Nevada and Sigourney school districts in the state of Iowa, US. In-use fuel economy and electricity operating costs were monitored for the two Iowa hybrid school buses and two control buses (one in each district). Fuel consumption and other operational metrics were calculated and compared for each school district. The hybrid buses were deployed in January 2008 and data were recorded through May 2010. Valuation of the data indicated that the Nevada HESB had 29.6% better fuel economy than the control bus and the Sigourney HESB had 39.2% better fuel economy than the control bus. Electrical costs per mile were also calculated for the two hybrid-electric school buses. Total operating costs per mile were calculated based on fuel use per mile for all buses and electrical costs for the hybrid-electric school buses. The cost to operate the hybrid bus in Nevada was 37 cents/mile while the control bus cost 42 cents/mile, making the hybrid bus 13% less expensive to operate. The hybrid bus in Sigourney was 27 cents/mile while the control bus was 34 cents/mile, making the hybrid bus 21% less expensive to operate. All values are in US dollars.

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S. Hallmark and R. Sperry, "Comparison of In-Use Operating Costs of Hybrid-Electric and Conventional School Buses," Journal of Transportation Technologies, Vol. 2 No. 2, 2012, pp. 158-164. doi: 10.4236/jtts.2012.22017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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