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School Bus Company to Install Automatic Idle Shut-off Controls and Pay Penalties under the Clean Air Act

Release Date: 07/17/2013
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – July 17, 2013) - As part of a settlement for excessive school bus idling in several Massachusetts communities, Eastern Bus Company will pay a $35,000 penalty and will increase its efforts to eliminate excessive idling. In addition to posting anti-idling signs, enhancing driver training and increasing supervisory presence in school bus lots, Eastern Bus Co. will install automatic idle shut-off controls on all its buses by Sept. 1, 2013.

In November and December of 2012, an EPA inspector observed Eastern Bus Company idling for extended periods of time in school bus lots in Wellesley, Somerville and Newton, Mass. EPA alleged that the company’s excessive idling was in violation of federally-enforceable motor vehicle idling limits contained in the Massachusetts air quality state implementation plan. The applicable regulations establish requirements for all motor vehicles operating in the state, and, with very few exceptions, limit idling to no more five minutes.

“Idling vehicles waste fuel, emit unnecessary air pollution and contribute to climate change,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Pollution from diesel vehicles is a serious health concern in Massachusetts and across the country. By dramatically limiting school bus idling, this settlement will help protect the health of school children in communities throughout eastern Massachusetts.”

Children, especially those suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments, are particularly vulnerable to diesel exhaust. Idling diesel engines emit pollutants which can cause or aggravate a variety of health problems including asthma and other respiratory diseases, and the fine particles in diesel exhaust are a likely human carcinogen. Diesel exhaust not only contributes to area-wide air quality problems, but more direct exposure can cause lightheadedness, nausea, sore throat, coughing, and other symptoms. Drivers, school children riding on the buses, facility workers, neighbors and bystanders are all vulnerable.

Idling school buses consume about one-half gallon of fuel per hour. By reducing the idling time of each bus in its fleet by one hour per day, Eastern Bus Co. would reduce its fuel use by 16,200 gallons per year and avoid emitting more than 350,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

More information: EPA Clean Diesel Campaign (

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