In 2014, CMCSS bought the first propane Type C school bus in Tennessee. The plan was to test the bus for a year with a single driver on a particular route and to monitor maintenance cost and fuel usage. Since CMCSS did not have any propane fueling stations the first propane bus was fueled by truck at the garage every other day. Once the test period was completed the data was collected and analyzed. The results reflected a lower fuel cost per mile and a lower cost on maintenance service. Drivers noted a faster warm up time in the winter and that the bus ran quieter. The biggest advantage to the propane bus was that since it had lower emissions, it was healthier for our students to be on while running.
In 2017, the District was awarded a grant from East Tennessee Clean Fuels for $118,500 to purchase 15 more propane buses. That same year the Tennessee Department of environment & Conservation awarded CMCSS with the “Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Award”. With the additional propane buses the District had to find a better system to fuel the buses on a daily basis. The first propane refueling station was installed at the main Operations Complex on Madison Street with a 1,000 gallon tank capacity. CMCSS held a press release when we received the 15 propane buses.
In 2018, CMCSS won an additional grant from East Tennessee Clean Fuels for $55,300 to purchase 7 more propane buses. That same year we added the second propane refueling station at our Liberty Bus Maintenance Complex. In 2019 CMCSS was awarded additional grant funds from East Tennessee Clean Fuels for $118,500 to purchase 15 more propane buses brining the propane bus fleet total to 38. CMCSS added a third propane refueling station at our West Creek Bus Maintenance Complex.
In 2019, CMCSS was awarded $625,000 from a VW settlement grant to expand the current propane bus fleet once again. This grant allowed CMCSS to purchase 40 propane buses (instead of 30 diesel buses) over a two year period. With the addition of these buses, CMCSS will have a total of 78 propane buses. CMCSS currently operates the largest propane bus fleet in the state of Tennessee, improving the quality of life for residents in Montgomery County. The Clarksville Montgomery County Green Certification Program awarded CMCSS with the “Outstanding Efforts in Air Quality” award for preventing the emission of over 5,400 lbs. of N0X fumes from being emitted into the environment through the use of propane buses.