According to a report issued by the U.S Department of Energy, “analysis of U.S. school bus Populations and Alternative Fuel Potential,” the U.S. fleet of 458,229 school buses travelled 4.1 billion miles and consumed 556 million gallons of fuel. That is an average of about 7.4 miles per gallon. Of course, that is an average across many sizes and styles of school buses, and reflects the usual stop and go operation of the school buses. A typical 36 seat, diesel school bus covers 7 miles in one gallon of gas, according to the American School Bus Council report. The average school bus uses 1,714 gallons fuel per year. A typical school bus gets 20-24 mpg in the city and 28-30 mpg on the highway. Gas mileage depends, of course, on driving habit as well as driving conditions. Moreover, mileage depends on the capacity of the passengers in it. Speaking in general, a diesel bus coves 4 miles to the gallon if it is fully loaded and moving on the highway. It is even less if it is moving during city travel. School buses are mostly diesel and they can hold about 500 to 1000 gallon of fuel and get about 6 to 10 mpg.
In the state of Minnesota school buses which meet the standards contained in Minnesota Statutes and Department of Public Safety Rules must be utilized for all transportation service to and from school, or on school related activities, which is provided to students attending a school. The modern school bus is the product of an evolving series of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards coupled with aggressive school bus safety development by the school bus manufacturers. In 1939 the first national conference was called to develop uniform standards for school bus design and recommendations for school bus operations. Representatives of all of the states, the Federal Government, and the school bus manufacturers attended this conference and helped develop the first National Minimum Standards for School Bus Operations.
For better mileage and safety of the pupils, a school bus must meet the following Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards:
- The roof must be strong enough to support one and half times the weight of the bus if it should roll over.
- The fuel system should be protected so that gasoline or diesel fuel cannot leak from the fuel tank and cause a fire in the crash.
- Body joints holding the school bus together must be stronger and properly maintained.
- There should be emergency exits.
- Seat backs must be approximately 20 inches high and properly cushioned with shock absorbent padding.
- The engine should be timely tuned for better fuel mileage.
- Aggressive driving wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 % at highways and 5 % around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.
Keep your engine properly tuned. Fixing a serious maintenance problem like faulty sensors can improve your mileage by say 40 %.
- Always use the recommended grade of motor oil.
- Keep the tires properly inflated.