Are school buses fuel efficient? (#SkoolieLife)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Are school buses fuel efficient? We will also give you the advice to reduce the fuel consumption of your Skoolie so that you can travel safe and fuel-efficient. 

Are school buses fuel efficient? 

Despite their dimensions, school buses are more fuel-efficient than trucks and semi-trucks. On average, a school bus or a Skoolie has a 30% fuel consumption, with 10  mpg!

Besides, diesel Skoolies are more fuel-efficient than gas buses. On average, a diesel school bus can travel about 510 miles on a diesel tank versus just 270 miles on gasoline, based on the same standard size gasoline tank.

Of course, how fuel-efficient your Skoolie is going to be, will also depend on the type of chassis you are going to install and engine power. See the table below for more information. 

Skoolies Average Fuel Consumption

Chassis typeEngine PowerAverage consumption
Chevy/GMC 6.0L/6L80 or 6.0L/8L8013 MPG
Ford V-10/E4OD11 MPG
Chevy/GMC & Duramax6.0L/6L80 or 6.0L/8L8014 MPG
Ford6.0L 13 MPG
Ford7.3L14 MPG
Ford460 V-87 MPG
Chevy/GMC6.2L V-813 MPG
Chevy/GMC6.5L turbo-diesel V-814 MPG

How to reduce a school bus fuel consumption?

One of the main costs that you must face when travelling with your Skoolie is the cost of fuel. With these simple tips you will be able to optimize the fuel consumption of your converted school bus.

  1. Drive slower. Speed ​​is the enemy of consumption. The faster you drive, the more fuel your car will use. What a truism, you may be thinking. Indeed, but you may not know that driving at 85 mph increases consumption by 30% compared to driving at 75 mph.

A consumption differential that increases exponentially at speed, not directly. On a one-hour motorway trip, you will only gain 5 minutes for having circulated at 130 km / h, and you will have spent up to one euro more. Think of the cumulative effect in thousands and thousands of miles.

  1. Drive smoothly. Not only does driving slower save fuel, but you can also save even more fuel by driving smoothly. Avoid accelerations, and avoid revving the engine excessively. If you’re driving around town, your brake pads and your passengers will appreciate it too.
  1. Engine brake is your best friend, use it! This third tip is intrinsically linked to the previous one. Anticipation is everything. If a traffic light has turned red two hundred meters away – or a delivery truck is blocking the road – decelerate smoothly using the engine brake, do not continue accelerating to stop a few meters from the zebra crossing: you will not save a single second and you will wear out your car in an accelerated way.
  1.  Use low rolling resistance tires. If you want to minimize the consumption of your Skoolie, equip it with low rolling resistance tires. You can know its efficiency in its labelling: a C or a B already offers a low level of friction. With these tires, you will not be able to reduce the consumption per 60 mph of your vehicle by one litre, but it may be by a couple of tenths. In addition, they tend to have higher than average durability.
  1.  Make sure the tires have the proper pressure. Low-pressure tires will increase fuel consumption, wear unevenly, as well as worsen the car’s performance. Always bring your tires to the recommended pressure or a couple of tenths above it. 
  1. Remove the roof rack. Roof racks can increase the consumption of the vehicle by up to 20%. We understand that they are practical on long trips, but if you are not going to use them, do not be lazy: when they have fulfilled their function, disassemble them.
  1. Empty your Skoolie of useless stuff. All the “junk” that we carry onboard our car can add up to tens of kilos. And as you know, when the weight of a vehicle increases, its consumption increases. There is no point dragging extra pounds for no reason. In addition, it never hurts to tidy up your car and empty the trunk of junk.
  1. Check the condition of the air filter. The air filter is one of the elements with the most direct influence on engine consumption, at least as far as maintenance is concerned. It is the one that ensures that the air that enters the engine intake is clean. With a restricted airflow, the engine compensates for this by burning more fuel.
  1. Do not neglect the Skoolie. The air filter is not the only element of your mechanics that needs to be watched. Do not neglect the condition of the spark plugs, fuel filters – especially in buses fueled by diesel – and carry out oil changes when recommended by the manufacturer. 
  2. Plan your routes properly. Imagine that you are going to carry out a trip of several hundred km, and you can choose a motorway route or a route that combines motorways with national roads. Know the routes you usually travel on, learn the timing of your traffic lights, and on certain occasions, opt for a longer route that avoids a heavy traffic jam.

The bottom line

Over the years, various people have transformed old buses into unique houses on wheels. Most of them had the same goal: to be able to live a nomadic life, without being tied to one place. 

Do you have any tips for saving fuel on school bus journeys? Let us know!

FAQ on Are school buses fuel efficient?

How to save diesel on a bus?

To save diesel on a bus:

  • Turn off the engine while there is no movement. 
  • Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Don’t put the pedal to the metal. 
  • Cover the gaps. 
  • Install lightweight or lightweight front and rear fenders.
  • Maintain proper tire pressure. 
  • Use the correct tires.

What fuels do the buses use?

Currently, buses and trucks mostly use diesel as fuel, although there are quite a few initiatives to switch to Gas, less to electricity and occasionally to hydrogen.

Do school buses get good gas mileage?

Yes, school buses get good gas mileage. A Skollie can get an average of 10 miles per gallon, which is pretty good for a bus. 

How to save fuel on a descent?

To consume less fuel on a descent, slow down on the way up and let go of the throttle completely on the way down. Maintaining cruising speed when the road climbs requires extra fuel. And all the more so as the road is steep.

What speed to consume less?

Driving a little slower, for example, 120 instead of 130 km h on the motorway, allows you to consume much less. Thus, with a reduction in speed of 10 km / h, the economy rises to 1 litre of fuel on a journey of 100 km


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!