In October, the state Board of Education approved a request from the transportation department to include propane as an alternative fuel for school buses.
Contract bids have already been made, and propane buses have passed the test on "West Virginia roads," Shew said.
Now, county school systems need to be receptive to the idea of change.
"Anytime there's change involved, there's apprehension. The proof is in the pudding, but at the same time, we don't have that much experience with this in West Virginia," Shew said.
Aside from the financial benefits, Shew said he hopes that the Department of Education will be able to better educate West Virginia's youth on environmental health through the initiative as well.
"We're actually going to see a reduction in greenhouse gasses, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and emissions. Not only are we saving money, but we're providing cleaner air in and around our schools," he said. "It's not that the industry isn't trying to improve -- diesel engines have become much more eco-friendly, but propane is still cleaner."
The Department of Education's efforts are aligned with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's Natural Gas Vehicle Task Force, which was formed in July.
Just last week, the Kanawha County Commission also furthered its efforts with alternative fuels, expressing interest in converting more county vehicles to both natural gas and propane.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.