An Iowa State University (ISU) researcher says a study of hybrid school buses shows some promise for decreasing fuel costs and pollution, if mechanical problems with the buses can be fixed, Radio Iowa reports. Two hyrbid-electric school buses were purchased for the Nevada and Sigourney school districts and run alongside regular buses. Shauna Hallmark of the ISU Institute for Transportation says there were problems with the batteries on the buses holding a charge. But the hybrid buses got 30 percent better mileage in Nevada and 36 percent better in Sigourney. Hallmark says the savings could help offset the increased cost of buying the specialized buses. While she hasn’t done a cost estimate analysis, she believes districts could recoup the cost of the bus in fuel savings. Hallmark says other hybrid systems used in cars and transit buses use only the engine to charge the battery. She says if they put the same technology in school buses that’s used in transit buses, then she thinks it would work. Researchers received grants that paid for most of the $217,000 cost of each bus. The districts each paid about $70,000 themselves—which is about the cost of a conventional bus…

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