School buses

Case story

5 minute read

As the back-to-school-season begins, Neste makes school buses cleaner for students

There are approximately 500,000 school buses in the US, moving more than 25 million children between school and home. The nation’s school bus fleet is the largest transportation network in the country.



Of this large bus fleet, about 95% run on diesel, releasing more than 5 million tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually. Additionally, many of the school buses are older and release toxic fumes that pose a health risk to children.

In order to combat climate change, this large source of GHG emissions must be dealt with quickly and Neste is proud to be a part of the solution. We are helping school districts phase out the use of fossil diesel in school buses by offering renewable diesel. School Buses powered by the combination of modern diesel engines and renewable diesel offer one the safest, most sustainable ways for children to travel to and from school.

Why we need to reduce emissions from school buses

Compared to fossil diesel, school buses that are fueled by Neste’s renewable diesel immediately cut GHG emissions by up to 75%. Vehicles powered by pure, unblended renewable diesel will emit no new carbon from the tailpipe. Additionally, renewable diesel does not contain carcinogenic aromatics found in fossil diesel. 

What we are doing 

  • Supplying up to 1 million gallons of renewable diesel to more than 15 school districts along the U.S. West Coast each year 

  • Ensuring up to 168,000  students to have a safe and sustainable ride to school and back home 

  • Reducing 7,478 metric tons of GHG emissions annually, equivalent to carbon sequestered by 8,700 acres of US forests for 1 year 

Neste supplies renewable diesel to school districts

Twin Rivers Unified School District

In 2017, Twin Rivers Unified School District, which serves more than 26,000 students, sought to reduce its GHG emissions through an aggressive climate action plan. What was expected to be a years-long process became an overnight success story upon switching to renewable diesel.

Searching for a more affordable, scalable, and faster-acting solution, Twin Rivers Director of Transportation Timothy Shannon attended the 2018 Energy Independence Summit in Washington, D.C. where he learned about the many benefits of renewable diesel. This drop-in fuel allowed Shannon to immediately transition 75 fossil diesel powered buses to renewable diesel. Shannon chose Neste as the school district’s preferred partner due to its 15-year history as a pioneer in the renewables space. 

As a result, the Twin Rivers USD’s school bus fleet is now one of the cleanest in the country, consisting of electric, natural gas, and renewable diesel buses. Since the switch, Twin Rivers and Neste are keeping 523 metric tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere annually, which is equal to planting 8,648 trees every year. Because of their switch to renewable diesel and investments in other low carbon solutions, Twin Rivers was honored for being a “Leading School Fleet” for transportation sustainability at the 2022 Advanced Clean Transportation Expo

"I stand behind Neste’s renewable diesel so much because it’s gonna benefit my kids and my future grandkids. It’s gonna give them an opportunity to live in a cleaner environment."

Tim Shannon, Director of Transportation, Twin Rivers Unified School District
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Metric tons of CO2 reduced using renewable diesel

Vista Unified School District

In 2018, Vista Unified School District (VUSD), a public school district based in San Diego County, California, switched its fleet of 53 school buses to Neste MY Renewable Diesel.

VUSD is the 4th largest school district in San Diego County and comprises 32 schools with diverse educational programs that range from kindergarten schools through adult education facilities. VUSD serves more than 23,000 primary to high school students and 2,000 adult education students.

In the last year Neste supplied 175,000 gallons of renewable diesel to VUSD. Together, we are keeping 1500 tons of GHG emissions out of the atmosphere annually, which is equivalent to making 323 passenger cars zero emissions for a year.

Cars made zero emissions

Pittsburg Unified School District

Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD) is a public school district based in Contra Costa County, California. It serves more than 11,300 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. 

In 2018, the school district switched some of its vehicles from operating on fossil diesel to Neste’s renewable diesel, as PUSD wanted to ensure their school buses to run on a fuel that is good for the children, the drivers and the environment. 

 “We have a high prevalence of upper respiratory incidents here and we are committed to doing everything we can to reduce the level of emissions our students and community are exposed to,” said Matthew Belasco, Director of Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation of Pittsburg USD. 

In the past year, close to 400,000 gallons of Neste MY Renewable Diesel were supplied to PUSD. Together with Neste, PUSD is keeping 3,400 tons of GHG emissions out of the atmosphere each year, which is equivalent to turning 733 gasoline-powered passenger cars into zero emissions for a year. More importantly, this positive change required no new investments in infrastructure or modifications to the engines.

GHG emissions kept out of the atmosphere each year

Looking Ahead

Providing reliable and safe school bus transportation for students plays an important role in education. These yellow buses keep students punctual for their classes, enable them to make friends, and give parents peace of mind. Making school buses more environmentally friendly ensures cleaner air for our children to breathe – it means they will be healthier, have greater focus, productivity, and a brighter future. Neste looks forward to helping more student districts have access to renewable diesel, so that in the future low-emission school buses will be a standard across the nation. 

For more information on the benefits of Neste MY Renewable Diesel, please visit the product page.