EPA reports to Congress on Clean Diesel Program

By Nicholas Zeman | October 14, 2009
Posted October 21, 2009

The $50 million program that allowed the U.S. EPA to purchase or retrofit 14,000 diesel-powered vehicles and pieces of equipment has seen some results. EPA told Congress-which allocates funding-in a report issued last week that its Diesel Emission Reduction Program resulted in reducing 46,000 tons of NOx, and 2,200 tons of particulate matter over a vehicle's lifetime.

DERP provides financial support for retrofits, repairs, replacements, idle reduction, cleaner fuels and other clean technologies. EPA has given sector-specific clean diesel grants for several years, although fiscal year 2008 was the first time Congress funded the program. Competitions are now underway for clean diesel funding grants totaling $60 million.

In further developments on the diesel policy front, the EPA was awarded $300 million under the National Clean Diesel Campaign under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. All of these programs support the use of biodiesel.

Most of the financing is done through the Smartway Clean Diesel Finance Program. EPA launched SmartWay in 2004 to help improve the freight industry's environmental performance. Today more than 2,000 organizations participate, ranging from large multi-national trucking fleets, several rail companies, many well-known retail and commercial shippers, as well as small "mom and pop" trucking companies.

"Through their SmartWay participation, these companies both calculate and adopt strategies for lowering their transportation energy use and CO2 emissions," EPA stated. "EPA provides technical support, including tools to evaluate options for lowering fuel use and emissions, and help in locating financing for the purchase of environmental and fuel saving technology."

In 2009, the partnership projects that it will eliminate 6 million tons of CO2 and conserve more than 540 million gallons of diesel fuel, a savings of at least $1.3 billion a year in fuel costs.
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