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  • Beaverton School District

School-bus fleet in Beaverton, Oregon, switches to renewable diesel fuel

Photo: Beaverton School District

As of mid-January, the Beaverton School District in Oregon has stopped using petroleum-based diesel fuel in its school buses in favor of renewable diesel.

Renewable diesel is a fossil-free alternative derived from agricultural waste products like vegetable oils and animal fats, making it a fully renewable and sustainable source of energy. Renewable diesel burns cleaner than regular diesel, releasing significantly less carbon emissions than petroleum diesel. Additionally, it lowers tailpipe emissions such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide, total hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides.

Other benefits of using renewable diesel over traditional diesel include better vehicle performance, reduced maintenance and maintenance costs, cleaner-burning exhaust and improved mileage.

The transition required no physical changes to the district’s current bus fleet.

While the cost of renewable diesel is slightly higher at present, it is expected to drop as the supply of renewable diesel expands and more businesses make the switch.

The district expects the transition to be cost-neutral in the long run.

“Reducing harmful emissions and improving the welfare of our students is one of our top priorities,” said Craig Beaver, transportation administrator for the school district. “Incorporating renewable diesel along with renewable propane and the expansion of electric school buses rounds out our strategy for improving the ride experience for our students, reducing our carbon footprint and propelling us to the forefront of environmental leadership in Oregon student transportation.”

The Beaverton School District, the third-largest school district in Oregon, includes 54 schools with more than 38,000 students.

The transportation department has 310 buses, including four electric buses, and is made up of more than 280 drivers and mechanics plus operations, training and safety personnel.

The department transports over 22,000 students every day.

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