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Orland School District Adds 79 Propane-Fueled School Buses

November 1, 2016
Melanie Pikosky | TSN Communications

School bus contractor operates Chicago-area school fleet on cost- and emissions-reducing alternative fuel

ORLAND PARK, Ill. (Nov. 1, 2016) — Orland School District 135 partnered with Cook-Illinois Corporation to add 79 Blue Bird Vision Propane buses that will help lower the district’s carbon footprint while reducing transportation costs. These propane-powered buses make up 80 percent of its school transportation fleet.

“Cook-Illinois subsidiary, American School Bus Company, won the bid for our regular education bus services for the 2016-17 school year,” said Jerry Hughes, director of risk management and safety for Orland School District. “They presented the benefits of propane-fueled buses that really appealed to us.”

Among those benefits, Hughes cites the propane buses’ better cold weather starts, ability to heat up fast, and the removal of diesel fumes around the students and community. The Blue Bird Vision Propane buses emit 80 percent fewer smog-producing hydrocarbons and virtually eliminate particulate matter when compared with conventional diesel. These buses, which run almost 400 routes per day, will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by over 98,000 pounds and particulate matter by almost 2,500 pounds each year compared with the diesel buses being replaced. Equipped with Ford Motor Company’s 6.8L V10 engine, each bus is powered by a ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel system; a Blue Bird exclusive.

“More than 600 school districts across the nation are experiencing the environmental and economic benefits of Blue Bird’s propane buses,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. “We are thankful to our partner Cook-Illinois Corporation and to our dealer Central States Bus Sales for showing Blue Bird customers the cost- and emissions-reducing benefits of propane.”

Thomas O’Sullivan, president of contracts and bids for Cook-Illinois, said that all of the company’s subsidiaries would eventually have propane buses available. He added that routine maintenance is quick, and the 165 Blue Bird Vision Propane and Micro Bird Propane buses run efficiently in any type of weather.

Cook-Illinois currently pays $.98 per gallon for propane compared with $1.99 for diesel. They have seven private fuel locations, varying from 1,000- to 8,000-gallon tank size capacities.

"Cook-Illinois’ adoption of propane buses for its school district customers is good for the company as well as the Chicagoland suburb,” said Brian Carney, executive director of school bus and customer support for ROUSH CleanTech. “Propane-fueled buses operate on a fuel that is domestically produced, abundant and affordable.”

In addition, Cook-Illinois has deployed 25 new Blue Bird Vision Gasoline buses for area school districts. These clean-burning buses share similar cold weather startup and noise reduction benefits as their propane-fueled counterparts, and use the same powerful Ford 6.8L V10 engine.

Cook-Illinois won the 2016 Go Yellow, Go Green award from the National Student Transportation Association recognizing the company’s initiative and commitment to greening its fleet. They plan to purchase only alternative-fueled buses in the future.

About Blue Bird Corporation: Blue Bird (Nasdaq: BLBD) is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses and related parts. As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative fuel applications with its propane-powered and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio. For more information on Blue Bird’s complete line of buses, visit

About ROUSH CleanTech: ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of alternative fuel vehicle technology, is a division of ROUSH Enterprises based in Livonia, Michigan. ROUSH CleanTech designs, engineers, manufactures and installs propane autogas fuel system technology for medium-duty Ford commercial vehicles, and Type A and Type C Blue Bird school buses, and compressed natural gas fuel systems for Type C Blue Bird school buses. As a Ford QVM-certified alternative fuel vehicle manufacturer, ROUSH CleanTech delivers economical, clean and domestically produced fueling options for fleets across North America. Learn more at or by calling 800.59.ROUSH.

# # #

For More Information:
Melanie Pikosky | TSN Communications 
312.217.6355 |

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