PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Beaverton’s public schools will no longer use petroleum-based diesel fuel in their buses. The Beaverton School District announced that, as of Jan. 9, its school buses have officially switched to 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,” the Beaverton School District said. “Renewable diesel burns cleaner than regular diesel, releasing less carbon and potentially reducing CO2 emissions by up to 100% compared to petroleum diesel.

District officials said that the switch required no alterations to its fleet of school buses. While the price of renewable diesel is currently more expensive than petroleum-based diesel, the district said that it expects its fuel costs to even out as fuel prices change. 

In addition to lower tailpipe emissions, BSD’s Administrator of Transportation Craig Beaver said that the alternative fuel also increases efficiency. These benefits include better vehicle performance, reduced maintenance and maintenance costs and improved mileage.

“Reducing harmful emissions and improving the welfare of our students is one of our top priorities,” Beaver said. “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 is the third largest school district in Oregon, serving more than 38,000 students across 54 schools. Approximately 22,000 of these students take the bus to school each day. The district’s transportation department operates 310 buses, including four fully electric buses, and employs more than 280 drivers, mechanics and other workers.