Advocates Call for DISD to Lead on Electric Buses

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Bay Scoggin


DALLAS– At a board meeting today, advocates called on the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) to make the switch to electric school buses. In DISD’s most recent bond, money was made available for the purchase of sixty new buses, which will reportedly be diesel. Diesel emissions from school buses are unhealthy for the children that ride them and harm the environment.

Electric buses have no tailpipe emissions, significantly improve air quality, and save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the bus, research from TexPIRG shows.

Advocates, including electric vehicle, public health, consumer, and environmental groups, are calling for DISD to hold off on such a major investment in diesel, citing the Volkswagen Settlement money as a special opportunity to make an investment in new, cleaner technology. Further, Researchers at TexPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group say that the potential fuel and maintenance cost savings of $150,000 over each electric bus’ lifetime can save the district millions if they are willing to invest now.

“We know that DISD is working their tails off to take over for Dallas County Schools, and in light of the opportunities available, we hope DISD will put their best foot forward towards a zero-emissions bus fleet that protects our children’s health, saves the district money, and improves our climate,” says Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG Director.

“With VW Settlement money available for electrification and new leadership now in charge, DISD has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do the right thing. Electric buses means cleaner communities and healthier kids.”

Stacey Abel, TxETRA Policy and Communications Director said, “Dallas ISD’s plan to replace diesel school buses with newer “somewhat cleaner” models is contrary to the valiant efforts other Dallas agencies are making to address economic, health, and environmental benefits to the area, which is currently designated to be in air quality “nonattainment.” Moreover, while the upfront purchase price of electric buses is often cited as a hurdle, it has been repeatedly documented that electric buses save money over their lifetime of the buses in fuel and maintenance costs.” 

She continued, “Furthermore, a review of available financing and funding choices reveals that American cities and school districts have a plethora of options to make the transition to electric buses feasible. Dallas ISD can be a leader in Texas by redirecting this choice by combining recently approved bond money with Texas VW Settlement funds to purchase clean, reliable, electric school buses.”

The advocates go on to note that by partnering with Oncor, the metro-wide transmission utility,, DISD could save even more money in the long run by providing the electric bus battery storage as a resource. Especially during the hottest parts of the summer, Oncor’s transmission grid would receive significant benefits from this partnership, enough to justify financial investment by the utility. Such a partnership would make the buses even more affordable for DISD. White Plains, NY has already began a program like this with great success.