Friday, August 23, 2019

The Election and Electric School Buses

The technology to run school buses on battery power has just recently become viable, and the Democratic presidential candidates are talking it up. After all, school buses mostly run the same fairly short routes day after day, so a 250-mile range works for most school districts. They're quieter than diesel buses and also greener, even when the power to charge their batteries comes from coal.

The bad news is that we have A LOT of school buses in America (nearly half a million), so replacing the whole fleet would be very expensive. Three presidential candidates (Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker) have all co-sponsored a bill that would provide $1 billion a year to get the process going. That's sort of a drop in the bucket, though, since replacing the whole fleet would cost more than $35 billion.

Bernie has made this part of his $16 trillion "green new deal" plan for the whole economy, which estimates that it would cost $407 billion to convert our whole transit system to clean power. That sounds like a fantasy to me, but given that a fair percentage of buses are replaced every year anyway, there isn't any reason not to get started.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

We spent about $700 billion on "defense" in 2018.

If we reduced our annual military spending by just 1%, that would give us a spare $7 billion annually, we'd have the base value of $35 billion for electric buses in a mere five years.

We'd also start to see immediate benefits:

* Diesel consumption dropping massively, increasing our total supply by about half a billion gallons annually, reducing prices, and boosting the economy;
* A lot less air pollution, meaning improved public health;
* A lot less noise pollution, also helping public health (physical AND mental);
* Mass replacement of aging and old existing buses, reducing maintenance costs for schools, increasing safety and reliability, and improving QoL for students on buses;
* Creation of a whole host of new jobs
* Lays vital groundwork for further transit and energy reforms

But no. We're psychopaths who don't value health, education, energy, or the environment anywhere near as much as we value bombs, guns, and death.

We impoverish ourselves and future generations in the name of senseless bloodshed.