White House Awards $1 Billion for Clean School Buses

More than 380 school districts in high-need areas will receive the mostly electric vehicles.

October 27, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Biden Administration is awarding nearly $1 billion in grants to 389 school districts across the country so they can purchase over 2,400 clean school buses, with 95% of the buses being electric. The grants are part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, which will “accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities,” according to the EPA.

“President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement. “As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”

The EPA announced the program in May, originally awarding $500 million toward clean buses, but there was an overwhelming demand from districts across the country, so the EPA upped the amount to $965 million. An additional $1 billion is set to be awarded in the budget year that began October 1, reports the Associated Press.

School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural and Tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more districts in the coming weeks.

The EPA received about 2,000 applications for the program in May, requesting nearly $4 billion for more than 12,000 buses, mostly electric, reports AP. Many buses will be delivered by the next school year, and the remaining amount will be sent by end of 2023.

Earlier this year, the Fuels Institute released a study that explores the challenges that the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MHDV) market faces on the road to decarbonization. The study is intended to inform the broad community on the nuances of MHDV decarbonization and identifies the top five and bottom five applications for MHDV decarbonization as a function of technology readiness. The study quantifies each market’s impact on the overall U.S. MHDV market and contribution to U.S. MHDV greenhouse gas emissions.