California, Maryland, and Florida lead nation in electric school bus adoption, report finds

BAY SHORE, N.Y. — A school bus contractor and district here recently rolled out four new all-electric Blue Bird school buses. (Wikimedia Commons)

California, Maryland, and Florida lead the country in electric school bus adoption, though only 2% of American school districts have committed to one or more electric buses, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute.

Authors of ‘The State of Electric School Bus Adoption in the US’ suggest that improving technology and new sources of funding and financing present a growth opportunity for the electrification of school bus fleets.

School buses running on diesel fuel – producing exhaust that the EPA classifies as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” – make up 95% of school bus fleets, transporting more than 20 million children.

“Students from low-income communities are particularly exposed: 60% of students from low-income families ride the bus to school… (and) communities of color are more likely to suffer from vehicle-based air pollution,” the authors wrote. “Electrifying the entire fleet of school buses can help address these health concerns and inequalities.”

President Biden set a goal of electrifying 20% of school buses under his American Jobs Plan with $20 billion in federal funding. The bipartisan infrastructure package working its way through Congress includes $2.5 billion for school districts and other entities to purchase electric school buses and an additional $2.5 billion for electric or “clean energy” school buses.  

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Fast facts

  • Fewer than 1% of school buses in the U.S. are electric
  • 1,164 electric school buses have been committed (procured, delivered or in operation)
  • 258 of 13,500 school districts (2%) have committed to one or more electric buses
  • 33 states have electric buses committed
  • 11 of 13 school districts have committed to 10 or more electric school buses are in California
  • Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland) plans to procure 326 electric school buses over the next four years, the largest commitment by a single school district to date

Top 10 states with the most electric school buses committed

School districts with 10 or more electric buses committed

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John Engel is the Content Director for Renewable Energy World. For the past decade, John has worked as a journalist across various mediums -- print, digital, radio, and television -- covering sports, news, and politics. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife, Malia. Have a story idea or a pitch for Renewable Energy World? Email John at john.engel@clarionevents.com.

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