On June 25, the Rialto Unified School District (USD) held a ribbon cutting event to officially open its new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station. Funded in part with Clean Transportation Funding from the MSRC, the new station is the only K-12 school district in Southern California to own and operate its own publicly-accessible CNG station. Rialto USD built the station to accommodate public vehicles, which can fuel up here 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The station is located at 261 Lilac Avenue.
The MSRC provided Rialto USD with $225,000 towards the construction of the four dispenser, fast-fill station. The school district currently has 38 CNG buses, and expects to add 10 buses in the near future. The district anticipates that it will save approximately half-a-million dollars annually in fuel costs, while generating revenue from public use of more than $1 million a year.
District bus drivers used to have to fill up in the surrounding communities of Riverside or Fontana at a cost of about $3.14 per gallon. Now, at their own station, fueling will be about one-third of the cost at $1.25 per gallon. The public can expect to pay about $2.60 per gallon, which is much cheaper than conventional gasoline. Moreover, the station helps increase operational efficiency for the district because drivers do not need to waste time or fuel traveling to stations in other cities.
Rialto USD transports about 5,000 students one-way on a daily basis. In addition to the air quality benefits, the new station and clean fuel buses serve as the centerpiece for the district-wide “environmental literacy” initiative, according to district officials. Other components of this initiative include installed solar panels, gardens at 19 of its elementary schools, and instruction in science classes promoting water conservation and cleaner fuels.