New California Port Emissions Data Shows Advanced Diesel Technology Boosts Clean Air for Frontline Communities

97 percent reduction in truck particulate emissions even as cargo volumes expand by 14 percent

Washington, DC, Oct. 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New emissions data published by the Port of Long Beach (POLB) California shows the introduction of new generation diesel trucks has generated substantial clean air benefits for communities located near freight facilities, according to the Diesel Technology Forum, a not for profit educational association.  

“The emissions inventory just released from the Ports of Long Beach demonstrates how the introduction of the latest clean diesel technology can support economic growth and generate substantial air quality improvements for communities located near freight facilities,” said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

“In 2019, trucks serving the POLB accounted for just 7 tons of fine particle (PM 2.5) emissions, down from 186 tons in 2005. This 97 percent reduction in emissions is largely due to the introduction of new technology diesel trucks even as cargo volumes in the port have expanded by 14 percent. In 2005, trucks were the second leading source of all PM 2.5 emissions after ocean going vessels. In 2019, port trucks were the second smallest source of PM 2.5 emissions after cargo-handling equipment.

“The Clean Trucks Program, instituted jointly by the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, requires that all trucks meet the latest tailpipe emissions standard for PM 2.5 and new trucks entering service in the port as of 2018 must meet the near-zero tailpipe emissions standard for ozone forming compounds (NOx) as well. According to the latest data, 90 percent of the estimated 14,000 port trucks entering and exiting marine terminals in southern California are powered by diesel and about 65 percent are of the latest generation diesel technology that achieve near-zero emissions performance for both NOx and PM 2.5. The remaining ten percent are primarily natural gas-powered vehicles. Compare this to the entire state of California where only 36 percent of trucks are the latest generation diesel demonstrates the effectiveness of the Clean Trucks Program in expanding the clean air benefits that can be realized with the adoption of advanced technology diesel trucks.

“This newly published data demonstrates clearly that states and regions around the country – particularly frontline communities located near freight facilities – seeking affordable and available means to improve their air quality, should look to accelerating the turnover to the latest generation diesel technology as a cost-effective way to deliver cleaner air.

“While the prospect of zero-emissions heavy-duty trucks evolves, there remains a longer timeline for being fully proven out and reaching significant market penetration in the overall fleet.  These real-world findings from the POLB, a leading port authority, shows that significant and immediate term benefits are realized now by replacing older and higher emitting trucks with new diesel models. This is of particular interest now as businesses struggle to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic with fewer resources to invest in newer and more expensive technologies. 

“Today, diesel remains the dominant technology in long-haul trucking, powering 97 percent of Class 8 big-rig trucks in the United States. A growing percentage of diesel-powered commercial trucks rely on the newest-generation diesel technologies, which deliver near-zero emissions performance while using less fuel. Consider that today, more than 43 percent of commercial Class 3-8 vehicles are of this newest-generation technology (2011 and newer model years), up by 6.8 percent over 2017. Since 2011, these more than 4.9 million new-generation commercial diesel trucks have already delivered reductions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide (CO2)) in an amount equivalent to eliminating 26 million light-duty vehicles from the fleet or converting those to all electric vehicles: the use of new-generation diesel trucks has removed more than 18 million tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 126 million tons of CO2, compared to previous generations. 

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that the Commercial Vehicle Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Standards Phase 1 rules saved 270 million tons CO2 and 530 million barrels of oil between 2014 and 2018, and that the Phase 2 rules will save another 1 billion tons of CO2 and nearly 2 billion barrels of oil between 2021 and 2027. Research commissioned by the Diesel Technology Forum confirms that the majority of these significant benefits will be delivered by more efficient diesel trucks. 

“New diesel trucks are so clean that it would take more than 60 new-generation diesel trucks to equal the emissions from one truck sold in 1988. Even further progress for lower emissions is on the horizon, as truck and engine manufacturers work with the U.S. EPA on the Cleaner Trucks Initiative, developing tomorrow’s generation of diesel engines. From coupling with hybrid-electric technology and battery-storage systems, to pushing thermal efficiency boundaries, to advanced waste-heat recovery systems, to utilizing high-quality advanced renewable biodiesel fuels, new-generation advanced diesel technology is uniquely suited to enable commercial trucking to contribute to our sustainable future.

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