Mounting health concerns coupled with soaring prices at the gas pump this summer have several school bus and engine manufacturers exploring an emerging technology already gaining traction in the consumer automotive market: hybrid engines.

Experts say the half diesel, half battery-powered machines would work similar to the environmentally friendly engines now being offered in the Toyota Prius or Honda Civic. The goal is to reduce overall fuel consumption and therefore limit the outflow of harmful emissions pumped into the air.

Bill Paul, editor of the industry publication School Transportation News, said school districts


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