How big is a school bus gas tank? (#SkoolieLife)

In this article, we will answer the following question: How big is a school bus gas tank? We will tell you how far you can get with your Skoolie’s full gas tank and also give you a few simple tips to save mileage. 

How big is a school bus gas tank?

A school bus gas tank capacity is usually between 40 and 100 gallons, depending on the type of Skoolie you are driving, but also on what type of fuel you are using. You can see what difference the type of fuel makes, in the table below. 

Skoolie fuel capacity

Type of FuelTech SpecsFuel capacity
PropaneEPA & CARB approved
GVWR: 33,000 lbs.
Up to 77 passengers
Short tank: 47 gallons usable 
Standard tank: 67 gallons usable 
Extended tank: 93 gallons usable
GasEPA & CARB approved 
GVWR: 33,000 lbs. 
Up to 77 passenger
Standard tank: 60 gallons usable 
Extended tank: 100 gallons usable

Propane or Gas: How to choose fuel for your Skoolie

We are going to cut things short and say that propane is an ideal fuel for Skoolies. Converting to propane significantly reduces operating costs by reducing fuel bills and maintenance costs. In addition, bus refuelling can be done from many gas stations or from your own propane facilities, which can give you complete autonomy when it comes to refuelling. 

In addition, you could reduce your CO2 emissions by 15 to 25%. Finally, propane can contribute to the well-being of the passengers because it emits much fewer heavy particles than diesel.

Alternative fuel for Skoolies

Autopropane stands out as one of the main alternative fuels in the world. Propane is one of the best fuel choices because of its environmental and economic advantages over traditional fuels. There are now 27 million vehicles that run on propane worldwide, four times more than in 2000. Gasoline vehicles can be converted to propane with conversion kits that can be installed in a matter of hours. These can then be operated using both propane and gasoline.

In addition, the supply of new light and medium propane vehicles has grown in recent years, particularly in fleets. These vehicles – vans, light trucks, school buses and more – come from original equipment manufacturers or are the result of modernization. 

Lightweight propane vehicles supplied by original equipment manufacturers can cost a few thousand dollars more than comparable gasoline vehicles, but can quickly close that gap with a substantial reduction in operating costs.

Can you save fuel with a Skoolie?

You can save 40% and more on your gas bill by converting your Koolie or van to an autopropane. Propane is particularly well suited to vehicles that make a lot of mileage, vehicles that run non-stop or fleets whose vehicles are driven almost constantly. Among fuels, it is the one that offers the best return per dollar invested.

Although the price of propane varies with supply and demand in the same way as the price of gasoline or diesel, it always remains below that of other fuels. By choosing propane, you are sure to save on fuel regardless of price fluctuations. 

In addition, maintenance costs are generally lower than those of diesel-powered vehicles. The evidence is clear and comes from several independent sources; propane is a smart choice for any business looking to lower operating costs with the minimum initial investment.

Here are some facts :

  • Propane is less expensive than gasoline and diesel.

On average, the price of autopropane is 40% less than gasoline or diesel in Canada. It is even more than 50% lower in some markets.

Autopropane’s fueling vehicles and infrastructure are more economical than natural gas.

Converting a vehicle to propane generally costs less than 50% of conversion to natural gas while fitting out a refuelling station can cost as little as 95% of the cost of a natural gas refuelling station.

Maintenance costs are lower than those for gasoline and diesel.

  • Propane is a clean fuel that produces little carbon build-up, which helps extend engine life.

Fewer filter changes are required and no Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is required.

The autopropane saves electricity, as propane-powered vehicles can start at temperatures as low as -40oC, eliminating the need to use heater blocks, necessary in cold weather to start a vehicle diesel-powered.

The costs associated with the conversion are quickly amortized.

With reduced maintenance costs and fuel savings, fleet managers who choose to convert their vehicles to propane can expect to pay off their investment, on average, in a year.

How to save gas while driving a Skoolie?

For individuals and professionals alike, the fuel budget can turn out to be a real money pit. To counteract soaring prices at the pump, some are using alternative means of transportation such as carpooling, cycling, electric cars, while others are trying to use their own vehicles in a more economical and responsible way. 

Simple steps to save fuel with your Skoolie

  1. Slow down on the expressway: driving at 60 mph instead of 65 mph on the motorway reduces fuel consumption by 20%.
  1. Adopt a driving in under-revving: start smoothly, shift gears without pushing them while remaining under 2000 revolutions/minute. Downgrade as late as possible.
  1. Do not leave the engine running unnecessarily: turn it off for every parking period of more than one minute.
  2. Reduce speed while the engine is warming up, do not turn the vehicle over before getting behind the wheel.
  1. Anticipate your driving: avoid unnecessary braking and accelerating to keep your speed as constant as possible.
  1. Cut the air conditioning because it implies an increase in consumption of 15 to 30% depending on the vehicle.
  1. Close the windows when travelling at high speed, this will improve the aerodynamics of the school bus.
  1. Use the fuel-efficient engine brake: Contrary to what many people think, braking with the pedal from neutral requires more gas (the engine is running to maintain idle).
  1. Maintain your vehicle regularly: change the oil (choose a quality fluid), replace the spark plugs and the air filter.
  1. Check the tire pressure: underinflated tires lead to over fuel consumption of around 5%
  1.  Lighten the vehicle: remove excess weight inside (objects lying around in the trunk and various storage compartments) and remove the roof bars or the roof rack to reduce wind resistance.

Final tips for better fuel consummation

Don’t wait until you are on the reserve to get gas. In fact, the presence of a large amount of air in a tank that is being filled leads to more loss of fuel by evaporation.

Fill the tank slowly (there are several speeds on some pumps), to limit the transformation of liquid gasoline into vapour.

Avoid refuelling during hot periods of the day, favor the cooler hours of the evening or morning. Do not arrive at the pump after a refuelling tanker has passed. The recent stirring of the fuel in the tank promotes evaporation and the rise of impurities.

From one gas station to another, the prices charged sometimes differ considerably. To compare the price of fuels near you, consult the specialized government site.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about this article. 

FAQ on How big is a school bus gas tank?

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!

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.


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