Energy 101: Sustainable Public Transportation

You are here

Below is the text version for the "Energy 101: Sustainable Public Transportation" video.

The video opens with a collage of the three kinds of sustainable vehicles covered in this video: hybrid-electric buses, plug-in electric buses, and CNG vehicles.

From America's streets to our national parks, millions of Americans rely on public transportation to get them around.

We already know that public transportation reduces pollution and eases congestion on the road. And as communities become more sustainable, many transit fleets are switching over to cleaner, alternative fuels and technologies.

The video shows a variety of buses that run on alternative fuels, then pans by a fueling station that reads "biodiesel." Then it shows a scene of a bus that reads "Charm City Circulator."

Today, many communities are turning to hybrid-electric buses, like the Charm City transit fleet in Baltimore. This fleet gives people a free ride around town while producing far fewer pollutants and noise than diesel busses.

Other communities are offering all-electric, plug-in buses, like the ZeroBus fleet, which transports people around downtown Louisville, Kentucky.  These zero-emissions all-electric buses have replaced diesel-powered trolleys—the highest polluting vehicles in the city's fleet.

The video shows a bus pulling into a charging station, where a charger locks into the roof of the bus. A caption reads "Electric buses automatically recharge."

The ZeroBuses recharge automatically in just a few minutes along their routes, while passengers load and unload at one of the charging stops. 

The scene changes to a bus with "City of Fort Collins: CNG fuel" printed on its side.

Another one of the most popular alternative fuels for public transit is compressed natural gas, or CNG. CNG vehicles get about the same mileage as a gasoline-powered vehicle, but natural gas burns cleaner than diesel and produces less carbon pollution. Plus, they're a lot quieter!

Natural gas is also much more predictable in price, and between 1 and 2 dollars cheaper per gallon than gasoline, allowing for more miles on less money.

Have a look at this city bus in Colorado. Fort Collins is just one example of a city using CNG vehicles. Right now, more than half of the city's buses run on natural gas and that number keeps growing.

The video shifts to scenes from Mammoth National Park and Zion National Park.

Alternative fuel bus fleets aren't just serving city-dwellers. They're also keeping the air clean in some of the most picturesque places in the nation.

America treasures its national parks. But with almost 300 million visitors per year, our national parks face threats including increasing traffic and air pollution. Working with the Energy Department's Clean Cities program, some parks are using alternative fuel buses to lighten that footprint, while moving millions of visitors around each year.

The video pans through a full parking lot at a national park, then a shot of a propane tank.

Pay a visit to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. Mammoth was the first national park to completely switch its fleet to alternative fuels. This park converted seven gasoline school buses to cleaner-burning propane fuel.

Now, a majority of the park's vehicles run on alternative fuels. Some run off of propane, others use biodiesel or electricity. In fact, even the park's ferry uses biodiesel to help guests cross the Green River.

At Zion National Park in Utah, preserving the delicate desert landscape is a top priority. To help protect the natural landscape and reduce air pollution, a fleet of 21 propane-powered shuttle buses transport most of Zion's 3 million visitors each year. Minimizing smog-forming emissions and traffic makes a big difference in preserving the beauty of the park. The bus fleet also eliminates more than 5 million pounds of carbon emissions annually.

By implementing these alternative fuel technologies, public transportation reduces our nation's reliance on oil and cleans up our air.

Alternative fuel public transportation: keeping our cities and national parks clean and improving America's energy security.