Lower Merion's green buses honored at conference

Lower Merion School District's transportation director will be among a panel of experts featured at a U.S. Department of Energy conference this month.

The panel, "Stalwart Stakeholders: 20 Years of Energy Independent Leadership," is part of the department's Clean Cities 20th Anniversary Celebration on June 24.

In addition to Lower Merion's Jerry Rineer, the panel will include fleet managers for agencies such as UPS, Schwan's, the New York City Department of Transportation and the National Park Service.

In 1995, Lower Merion began swapping out its diesel-fueled buses for vehicles that run on Clean Natural Gas.  Today, 58 of the district's 113 buses run on CNG.  The district has its own fueling stations and also uses bio-diesel fuel in the non-clean-natural-gas buses.

It  was one of the first districts in the country to begin using CNG, and it has the largest alternative-fuel school bus fleet on the East Coast, according to the district's website.

The Department of Energy called Rineer and his former colleague Michael Andre "pioneers," and said Lower Merion's CNG buses "have been critical to our success."

The conference celebrates two decades of the federal initiative to increase the use of alternative fuels.  Since Clean Cities' launch in 1993, petroleum use has decreased 4.5 billion gallons and nearly a million alternative-fuel vehicles have hit the nation's roads, according to the Energy Department.