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U.S. EPA awards $185,000 for cleaner school bus fleets in California

Agency awarding over $9.3 million nationwide

Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (
213 244 1815, cell 312 898 2042

SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded more than $9.3 million to replace 473 older diesel school buses with 2017 or newer buses.  In California, four school bus fleets will receive rebates totaling $185,000 toward 10 cleaner buses.

Nationally, the funds are going to 145 school bus fleets in 43 states or territories, each of which will receive rebates through EPA's Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage.

Funding for the school bus fleets in California will be distributed as follows:

  • Butteville Union Elementary School District was awarded $20,000, funding to replace a 1996 school bus with a model year 2020 school bus. The new bus will transport K-8 children in Siskiyou County in California.

  • Oroville City Elementary School District was awarded $45,000 to replace three model year 2001 school buses with 2017 or newer gas or diesel buses. These cleaner buses will operate for the district’s special-needs programs throughout Butte, Calif.

  • Ventura Unified School District was awarded $20,000 to replace a 1991 school bus operating in Ventura, Calif., with a cleaner 2017 or newer school bus.

  • Ventura Transit System, Inc., was awarded $100,000 to replace five model year 1991-2003 school buses with 2017 or newer buses. The new school buses will operate for Santa Paula Unified School District which services Santa Paula, Calif., with approximately 5,500 K-12 students.

“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA, and these grants will help provide cleaner air and a healthier ride to and from school for America’s children,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This DERA funding reflects our broader children’s health agenda and commitment to ensure all children can live, learn, and play in healthy and clean environments.”

“Children are particularly susceptible to air pollution because their lungs are still developing,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker.  “This funding will improve air quality for thousands of California students.”

Applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $20,000, depending on the size of the bus. Regional, state or tribal agencies including school districts and municipalities, or private entities that operate school buses under contract with state, tribal or local agencies were eligible to apply.

Over the last seven years, EPA has awarded approximately $39 million in rebates to replace almost 2,000 school buses. Bus replacements funded through the rebate program reduce emissions and exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen oxides for children at schools, bus stops, and on the buses themselves. 

School buses travel over 4 billion miles each year, providing the safest transportation to and from school for more than 25 million American children every day. However, exhaust from diesel buses can harm health, especially in children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed.

EPA has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90% cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating. These older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants, which are linked to instances of aggravated asthma, lung damage and other serious health problems. 

The 2018 DERA school bus rebate recipients can be found at

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