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Saving the planet one bus at a time – these are the cities and schools looking to go green

Alexandria's DASH bus fleet could become zero-emissions along with school buses in Maryland.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Tesla-type technology could one day power buses on our roads if a pair of studies are successful. 

Tuesday, Alexandria's DASH transit system committed to finding buses that produce zero emissions — meaning no exhaust.

"We want to ensure that we provide the greenest fleet for our community," said DASH assistant general manager Raymond Mui. Last month, the city was shown a bus powered by hydrogen fuel cells burning half the gas of a traditional diesel bus. DASH wants to be among the first mass transit systems in our area to buy zero-emission buses in the next two years.

RELATED: You can drink the exhaust! See the green bus being eyed by Metrobus and DASH

"It's exciting to be a part of the transformation and shaping of the technology," Mui said.

DASH is not alone. Last month, Maryland lawmakers passed a bill to see if school buses could go green. Governor Larry Hogan signed the house bill to start a $600,000 test of how zero-emission buses could carry schoolkids.

But some school districts worry about the cost of the buses themselves. In a legislative analysis of the bill, the Maryland State Department of Education said traditional diesel buses can cost $90,000 while electric buses can cost more than $340,000. Prince George's County Public Schools pointed out that in order to switch to zero-emission buses, it would need to purchase charging stations at $5,000 each. 

"I think the entire industry-- ourselves included-- wants to be cautious about it," said Mui. "We want to be sure that we invest in something that works for us not only in the near term but the long term as well."

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