EPA opens applications, announces guidelines for $5 billion Clean School Bus Program

Media Contacts
Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is unveiling its historic, $5 billion Clean School Bus Program on Friday. This new program, created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law by President Joe Biden last November, will help school districts replace polluting diesel buses with zero-tailpipe-emission, electric school buses. Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael Regan will announce the new funding in front of an electric school bus in Falls Church, Virginia, on Friday afternoon. 

School districts can apply now to receive a rebate – delivered to the manufacturer or dealer before the district pays – covering the total cost of as many as 25 new electric school buses or the price differential between such buses and diesel buses. While buses that run on some “alternative fuels” are eligible for some of the funding, the EPA is placing higher prioritization for applications for electric buses. The EPA will award up to $500 million this year, with another $4.5 billion available for school bus replacements over the next four years.The deadline to apply  for this year’s rebate program is August 19, 2022.

The nation’s fleet of 450,000 school buses carries 25 million children every school day. These buses primarily run on diesel fuel, which has been linked to several serious health risks, including increased rates of respiratory illness and cancer.

In response, U.S. PIRG Environment Campaigns Director Matt Casale said: 

“Getting to school shouldn’t include a daily dose of toxic pollution, or make our children sick. And we shouldn’t continue to use dirty diesel buses when they are making the climate crisis worse. The opening of the Clean School Bus Program should be the end of air-polluting school buses as we know them.

“We thank Vice President Harris for her years of advocacy for electric school buses that led to this moment and appreciate the EPA’s work in quickly developing this program and getting the applications launched. We look forward to seeing more electric school buses on roads across the country.” 

Environment America’s Destination Zero Carbon Campaign Director Morgan Folger said: 

“Transportation is the United States’ single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. We need to be doing everything we can to reduce our transportation network’s climate impact and move to a zero-carbon system as quickly as possible. The EPA’s program to cut school bus emissions and get more electric buses on the road is a huge step forward. It’s good for the climate, our kids’ health and for clean air in our communities. That’s a win-win-win for everybody.”