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Matt Herring 07-24-2008 12:03 PM

4 Day School Weeks To Save Fuel
Thought I would share this with the forum.

Some rural (heavy commute) schools are switching to 4 day school weeks to save fuel/energy costs. I think we'll see alot more of this in the coming years. Recently, New Hampshire state agencies began switching to 4 day (10 hours a day) work weeks to save on fuel/energy costs.

How fun would it be to approach a 100+ bus school system with plans to save "x" amount of dollars by teaching bus drivers to use hypermile techniques to save fuel. Or, for buses with 100+ mile commutes each day on rural roads to coast half of the route! Check out the link below.

U.S. schools eye four-day week to cut fuel costs | Lifestyle | Living | Reuters

SVOboy 07-24-2008 12:55 PM

In Japan there is actually an "Ecodrivers certification" or something to that affect for bus drivers in certain parts. They also all drive stick shifts, :p. It's possible, but it'll take a paradigm shift, I think

Matt Herring 07-24-2008 01:06 PM

True point SVO...

From first hand experience of riding buses to school 15 miles each way for 12 years I am 100% positive bus drivers have to be able to do better on mpg somehow, someway. As I recall my bus driver had their foot on the gas pedal 24/7 the entire ride.

I think it's great there are gov't paybacks to consumers for purchasing hybrids but it would be even cooler if the gov't gave paybacks for % over epa. Pipe dreaming but would still be cool. Although, the oil companies with their claws into gov't would fight it all the way.

Maybe some type of car sensor could track it and when you go to fill up your car you pay less for fuel if your sensor says you are a certain % over EPA. Okay, now I've lost my marbles!

azraelswrd 07-24-2008 01:11 PM

Money makes people (and govternments) do crazy things. If JPN could pay for gas as much as they do in Oklahoma, I doubt they would be that "RADICAL" in fuel conservation but I cannot discount their cultural values and how much stock they place in protecting what they deem as pure Japan (and they've already learned quite a few lessons in ecological nightmares by screwing over said pure Japan)

Japan = $6.40/gal
Oklahoma = $3.83/gal

I like the idea of 4-day weeks but I wonder what the imapct will be on the curriculum or the psyche of the student body. Will they understand or simply get emotional and irrational? Will the parents be any better? How much will really be saved or will those savings simply be wasted in other things that governments love to do (remember that city where city officials like the mayor could be driven around in a hummer on the taxpayers dime?)

Even during these "mental recessions" there's always going to be someone trying to get a bigger piece of the action...

trikkonceptz 07-24-2008 01:12 PM

It's a good plan to keep large commercial fleets off the roads, like school buses and such, but if you decide to cut back commuters work or school schedules, we would just end up driving around on our day off anyhow still wasting gas ..

Matt Herring 07-24-2008 01:31 PM

It's pretty obvious that money is clearly the #1 factor for shortening work weeks but at least it's being considered. Even the people that are first timers in fuel/energy conservation are at least making an effort...even if it's purely a money thing. I'm new to this forum but the single-reason I first came here was to join a community that could help me save money. Now, after being here a couple months I've started to get into the eco-friendly part of it.

And, by joining the group I have at least 3 friends who have since joined the group and we mention our mpg at work every single day...kind of a competition. This is a good opportunity for ecomodder to welcome many new people into the group.

Miller88 07-24-2008 01:40 PM

Where I went to school, they could save a TON (literally) of money by teaching the drivers about this thing called part throttle! Save fuel and transmission rebuilds.

All of the bus drivers had the foot to the floor 100% of the time. And the same with the brakes. I didn't complain, I love the sound of a DT466 running hard. We even had a few old chevy gassers (guessing 366 or 427) that were driven hard.

I went to a vocational school my last 2 years. It was a 10 mile trip each way. I remember the bus driver hitting the highway and not taking his foot off the floor. The bus was mechanically limited to 70 - 2600rpm in top gear - and that's where it stayed until he hit a redlight.

When dropping kids they would stop at each house and accellerate wide open to the next house 50 feet up. They could even save money by doing group pickups and dropoffs.

Where I live now there is no in-town busses for kids ... only 500 people in the town. But I believe we have the longest bus route in the state. 30 miles up the road is still this school district.

Matt Herring 07-24-2008 02:01 PM

Exactly my point Miller. I've never riden on a bus (school, city transportation, vacation) that the driver didn't ram the bus into the stops and ram the bus into the starts. I'd love to see one of our ecomodders approach a school system with the idea. Their driver vs. ecodriver over one of their routes to see what the mpg comparison looks like.

extragoode 07-25-2008 09:33 AM

I don't remember what the reasoning was, but I do remember our chief mechanic at our high school (responsible for all 40ish buses and drivers and the resources they consumed) telling us that there was actually reduction in maintenance costs from at least hard braking and he might have even said hard starting. That was almost ten years ago, though, before anyone was worried about how much fuel was being burned.

Edit: I think it might have had something to do with the drum brakes.

Miller88 07-25-2008 03:12 PM

Diesel automatic busses have a retarder built into the transmission that uses the fluid to hold it back (not like an automatic car gas where you use the engine vacuum to slow down the engine -> torque converter -> trans -> wheels). I could see severely overheated transmissions from always using the retarder.

Maybe it could have been the air brakes too? Air brakes have always been impossible for me to modulate ... and I learned to drive on a peterbuilt 379. Maybe the drivers were wearing out valves, etc with the air brakes always trying to modulate them?

For accellerating I can't see where hard would save on maintenance. That's more wear on engine, transmission, driveshaft and related, rearend and tires. Diesels don't really need to be wound out to the redline to take off (except for the screaming detroit 2 strokes!). Maybe lugging the engines cuased damage or lower RPMs caused high EGT?

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