Skip to comments.EPA Fines School Bus Company 438K For 'Excessive Idling'
Posted on 04/11/2012 9:19:49 AM PDT by CNSNews.com
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforced nearly $500,000 in fines and mandatory environmental projects on a school bus contractor for excessive idling, and as part of its anti-idling campaign to reduce the carbon footprint of school buses waiting to pick up children for their routes.
As part of a settlement for alleged excessive diesel idling in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Durham School Services will commit to reduce idling from its school bus fleet of 13,900 buses operating in 30 states, read an EPA press release on Tuesday.
The EPA says an agency inspector two years ago spotted buses of the Durham School Services, the second largest school bus transportation contractor in the country, idling for extended periods of time in school lots in New England.
The inspector observed some buses idling for close to two hours before departing the bus lot to pick up school children, it said. State rules limit idling to three minutes in Connecticut and five minutes in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where the infractions occurred.
Durham reached a settlement for the violation and agreed to pay $90,000 in penalties. It also agreed to pay for $348,000 worth of environmental projects, including implementing a national training and management program to prevent excessive idling from its entire fleet of school buses.
Under the program Durham must require its supervisors to monitor idling in school bus lots, post anti-idling signs in areas where drivers congregate, and notify the school districts it serves of its anti-idling policy.
The EPAs enforcement is part of its broader national campaign aimed at reducing idling among public school bus fleets. The federal agency claims a bus whose engine is running while stationary consumes about one-half gallon of fuel per hour.
By reducing the idling time of each bus in its fleet by one hour per day, Durham would reduce its fuel use by 1.25 million gallons per year and avoid emitting 28 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year, the release stated, adding, Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
According to the EPA, as of 2006, 30 states plus the District of Columbia had either state, county or local anti-idling regulations in place, with the city of Philadelphia setting the maximum allowable time for diesel powered motor vehicles at two consecutive minutes.
The EPA Web site even provides a do it yourself kit for those wishing to bring the anti-idling campaign to their school district, providing brochures, posters, a Teachers Guide for use in reinforcing key messages of the Idle-Reduction campaign, and pledge cards for drivers that read, Im doing my share for clean air.
Also available for order are bus driver key chains that can be used by bus drivers daily to remind them that they hold the key to a healthier ride, and a five-minute training video entitled Reducing School Bus Idling: The Key to a Healthier Ride. Also referenced is Californias 2003 anti-idling regulation that bus drivers must to turn off their vehicle within 100 feet of a school and must not turn the bus back on more than 30 seconds before beginning to depart or face a minimum penalty of $100.
The EPA suggests purchasing block engine pre-heaters, which cost approximately $1,200 to $1,500 each, to reduce idling and warm up engines and passenger compartments during colder months. Also available are Compartment/Engine Block Heaters that cost approximately $2,300 to $2,500.
The EPA claims the diesel emitted from school buses pollutes the air, wastes fuel, causes excess engine wear, and is harmful to childrens health.
Children, especially those suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments, are particularly vulnerable to diesel exhaust, said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPAs New England office, in announcing the fines levied on Durham.
EPA is pleased with this settlement, which will dramatically limit school bus idling and help protect the health of school children in dozens of communities across the country, he said.
Their numbers don’t add up. Specific gravity of gas is between 0.71 and 0.77, or between 5.93 and 6.43lbs per gallon. 12lbs Carbon are required for every 44Lbs CO2, so for 28lbs CO2 you have to have to get 7.6lbs of carbon from gas. To get 28lbs of CO2 from 1.25gal of gas, the gas would have to be between 95% and 102% Carbon by weight. The most carbon rich hydrocarbon I can think of is Benzene (C6H6) and that is only 92% Carbon by weight. Therefore the claim that 1.25 MGal produces 28 MLbs CO2 is an impossible exaggeration.
More realistically, gas is about 83 to 85% Carbon by weight. So a gallon of gas produces roughly 18 to 20 lbs CO2.
I read somewhere that optimum fuel mixture is about 15/1 (15 parts air/1 part fuel). I assume that to be volume, so...about 15 gallons of air to 1 gallon of gas. How much does 15 gallons of air weigh? Not all of that is converted to CO2 (CO2 just being a waste product of the created energy), so what's left? I just don't think 15 gallons of air and 1 gallon of gas produces 28 pounds of CO2.
You are confusing your ratios. 15:1 is not volume, it is stoichiometric. For each carbon atom in gas, you have to bring in a O2 from air to burn with it. If you don’t bring in at least that much oxygen you are running too rich, cannot burn all the fuel completely and get unburnt gas and soot out the exhaust. In volume the ratio works out to more like 6500:1.
If you look through my numbers you can see how it works out to 18-20 Lbs CO2 per gallon. Personally I think the weight of CO2 is completely irrelevant relative to the total volume of atmosphere. Our atmosphere is more than 99% N2 and O2 and only a small fraction of the remainder is CO2. As long as we have enough plants and algae eager to absorb every bit of CO2 in their reach we have nothing to worry about.