Your Guide To Bus Shopping Around Your School’s Budget

Purchase price. Operating costs. Safety. Reliability.

All these factors and more go through your head when shopping for a new school bus. It can be overwhelming. Whether you need a single vehicle or an entire fleet, there are numerous details to consider. One of the best places to start is with the fuel type.

Here’s how the most common options stack up against each other.

Diesel School Buses

Diesel school buses have been a reliable, tried and true option for decades. That familiarity offers a sense of comfort. Many districts also have long-standing relationships with manufacturers, dealers, and mechanics. Making the big jump from one fuel type to another is likely to have a few speed bumps.

In recent years, diesel has also shed the reputation of being a dirty fuel. Clean diesel is now 90% cleaner than it was in 2006.

Although the electric industry continues to innovate, diesel school buses offer a considerably longer range. According to one source, the disparity is striking, with electric buses traveling 100-120 miles per charge and diesel buses traveling 700-800 miles per tank. This provides more freedom as well as flexibility.



  • High, fluctuating fuel costs

  • More frequent maintenance

Electric School Buses

Even though electric school buses currently make up less than 1% of the nationwide fleet, that number isn’t expected to stay small for long. With innovative designs, federal funding, and a variety of safety features, many school districts are considering the electric alternative.

The purchase price is higher, but electric school buses can be a frugal investment because the operating costs are considerably lower. Instead of being reliant on rising, volatile fuel costs, your fleet can be recharged whenever necessary. Also, with fewer moving parts, you expect less maintenance.

There are also environmental factors to consider. Electric school buses give you more of less. No tailpipe emissions. No noise pollution. No fossil fuels.


  • Lower operating costs

  • Less frequent maintenance

  • Zero tailpipe emissions

  • Available infrastructure funds

  • Quieter


  • Higher purchase price

  • Shorter distance range

  • Additional driver and technician training

  • Charging infrastructure required

How To Find The Right School Bus

With so many different factors to consider, it’s difficult to determine which type of bus is the best option for you.

We can help.

Contact Kerlin Bus Sales & Leasing today. Our talented team is here to discuss your needs. We’ll help you make an informed decision.

Call the Kerlin team at 260-352-2722 to get your questions answered about new and used school buses.