STATEMENT: EPA funding for electric school buses means kids will breathe easier

Media Contacts
Lisa Frank

Executive Director, Environment America; Vice President and D.C. Director, The Public Interest Network

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Wednesday that it will disburse an additional nearly $1 billion from the historic Clean School Bus Program to school districts across the United States. The program, created by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in November 2021, helps replace diesel buses that spew pollution with mostly zero-tailpipe-emission, electric school buses.

This latest round of funding will help school districts replace 3,400 diesel buses across the country. The majority of school buses in the U.S. still run on diesel, a fossil fuel that increases global warming emissions and has been linked to serious health risks, including increased rates of respiratory illness and cancer. The risks are especially pronounced in children and have also been linked to poor academic performance. Each electric school bus can save school districts nearly $2,000 a year in fuel costs and $4,400 a year in reduced maintenance costs. 

The funds also will pay for some more efficient gas or propane buses. Despite producing lower emissions than their diesel counterparts, these buses will still expose students to toxic pollution and contribute to the climate crisis. Electric buses remain the best choice for public health, the environment and school district budgets. 

In response, Lisa Frank, Executive Director of Environment America’s Washington Legislative Office, said:

“Our kids go to school to improve their future prospects. But unless we move away from planet-warming fossil fuels we put that future at risk. Thanks to these EPA investments, we’ve taken another step towards ensuring that our kids will inherit a liveable planet. 

“Electric school buses are the smart choice when it comes to eliminating toxic tailpipe emissions. We urge all school districts to go electric as soon as possible–our kids can’t wait for cleaner air.”

Isaac Bowers, Federal Legislative Director for U.S. PIRG, said:

“When parents wave their kids off to school they have a right to expect they will be in a safe and healthy environment, but we’ve known for years that diesel school buses are damaging our kids’ lungs. Our hard-working teachers, bus drivers and other school staff also deserve clean air when they go to work.

“Thanks to this new round of EPA spending, many more kids across the country will have cleaner air to breathe. This investment shows that the EPA is going down the right road. We thank President Biden, Congress and the agency for accelerating our transition to EVs.”