MPS wins National Sustainability All-Star Award
The district's transition to propane is the first of its kind in Arizona. MPS is reducing fuel costs and air pollution.
Ron Latko, Mesa Public Schools transportation director, won a National Sustainability All-Star Award from Green Fleet magazine for significant achievement and innovation in reducing emissions and fuel consumption. Latko was honored Oct. 3 at the Green Fleet Conference in Schaumburg, Ill.
Last year, MPS bought 27 propane school buses, which comprise 5.3 percent of the fleet. This is the first step toward converting the 507-bus fleet. The district also bought a propane pickup truck, expanding the green initiative to the district’s 600-vehicle white fleet.
“We’re not the first district in the country to move to propane, but we are the first in Arizona. And I’m not done,” Latko said. “I’m looking for the next opportunity to further increase our fiscal and environmental responsibility.”
Propane emits less pollution, is more environmentally friendly than gasoline or diesel and is less expensive per gallon than gasoline. So far, MPS has saved $91,046 in fuel costs, or $.368 per mile. MPS has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 802 tons, or 40 percent when compared to diesel.
Latko, recently named a Clean Air Champion by the state of Arizona, is a member of the Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition and the Transportation Administrators of Arizona.
MPS is the largest school district in Arizona, serving more than 63,500 students. MPS operates more than 500 buses and drives 32,500 miles to transport almost 19,000 students daily.