Gas buses already offering best value for taxpayers

30th Aug 2017


The latest figures from the Department for Transport show that gas-powered buses are already delivering far better value for taxpayers and passengers than their electric counterparts. In the latest round of funding allocations from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, £11 million was awarded to six local authority-led projects to support the deployment of cleaner, low emission buses. Five of these bids were for electric buses with an average subsidy from the taxpayer of over £130,000 per bus; the bid for 110 biomethane buses from four councils in the Bristol area, however, came in at just £28,000 per bus thanks to much lower initial purchase costs.

Mike Foster, the CEO of the Natural Gas Vehicle Network (NGVN) said: “These figures are extremely encouraging not only for our members who are working to develop and deploy cleaner gas buses but more importantly for people living in areas with poor air quality. In our major cities in particular, diesel buses are amongst the worst culprits for pollutants, such as nitrous oxide and particulate matter, which the Government and the industry have set their sights on reducing. It is fantastic to see that councils and bus companies are recognising the potential of gas buses to bring down harmful emissions without compromising on performance or affordability.”

 The new figures come after a previous round of funding allocations revealed similar figures of £142,000 in subsidy per all-electric bus compared to just under £43,000 for each biomethane bus purchased by councils in Nottingham and Reading.

 Mike Foster added: “The small bids for electric bus funding, typically less than 10 vehicles at a time, shows a reticence from councils to commit to large all-electric fleets which is understandable given the high costs for initial purchase and ongoing battery replacement. For biomethane, on the other hand, 179 vehicles were awarded funding from just three bids. In some cases, forward thinking councils are already entering into partnerships with waste processers who are producing decarbonised gas from household and commercial waste which can then be used to fuel low carbon buses. This is the kind of circular economy thinking which helps us to meet our climate change targets whilst also improving air quality, an understandably urgent priority for many. Gas buses are delivering results and good value for the taxpayer so I’m sure we’ll see many more bids like this from local authorities and bus companies in the near future.