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March 27, 2018   |

Press Release

Clean Diesel Technologies Offer the Best Choice for North Carolina’s VW Environmental Mitigation Trust Funds

Clean Diesel Upgrades for Heavy Duty Engines Offer the Most Cost-Effective Path to Near-term NOx Reductions for N.C.’s $92 Million

March 27, 2018 (RALEIGH) – Right now, North Carolina is evaluating options for the $92 million coming to the state through the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust. The purpose of this Trust is to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) as a mitigation measure against the excess emissions from the almost 600,000 VW vehicles found to have been deployed with technology that sidesteps NOx emission controls.

Volkswagen’s settlement provides funding for states to upgrade or repower older vehicles and equipment to rapidly reduce NOx emissions that contribute to ground level ozone, or smog. According to the latest NOx emissions inventory, the largest sources of NOx in North Carolina are engines that power heavy-duty vehicles and equipment. It is these large engines that offer North Carolina the greatest opportunity for NOx mitigation.

“North Carolina has an extraordinary opportunity to make an immediate investment in clean air for communities all across the state,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “Clean diesel upgrades for North Carolina’s trucks, tugboats, switcher locomotives, school and transit buses, and construction equipment will immediately deliver astounding clean air benefits to communities all across the state. Because the VW Trust is designed to fund the immediate mitigation of excess emissions from non-compliant cars, prioritizing clean diesel upgrades for these large engines offers North Carolina the fastest, most impactful method of eliminating NOx.”

“While the VW settlement does provide flexibility on how to spend the funds, some options will provide more clean air benefits for the dollar and provide those faster than other approaches. Technology that is available now, like clean diesel, offers a far greater impact for NOx reduction than other, more aspirational options.”

Clean diesel refers to those technologies that meet the latest near-zero emission standards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, beginning with model year 2011. The newest generation of clean diesel technology meets the increasing demands of truckers, construction companies and farmers while also delivering lower greenhouse gas emissions and cleaner air. Diesel engine, vehicle and equipment manufacturers continue their record of innovation by making their products more efficient and sustainable, incorporating hybrid and electric drive components and renewable fuel capabilities.

Replacing the oldest technology with the newest clean diesel option is often the most cost-effective, immediate method for states to gain the greatest amount of clean air for the VW settlement dollar.

“To reduce 1 ton of NOx, which option would you choose: invest $176,000 in a new Class 8 clean diesel port truck; spend $214,000 for a compressed natural gas port truck; or hold $330,000 until the proper type of battery electric truck is developed,” said Schaeffer. “That’s the type of question North Carolina must answer.”

In addition, new joint research by the Forum and the Environmental Defense Fund shows that clean diesel technology upgrades for large tug and switcher locomotive engines cost only $4,379 to $15,201 per ton of NOx, compared to more than $30,000 per ton of NOx for many other diesel emission reduction projects. The joint research estimates that replacing these older engines can eliminate on average between 9.0 and 14.9 tons of NOx emissions per year.

“As more states look to clean diesel to maximize their clean air investments through VW Environmental Mitigation Trust opportunities, communities and business across North Carolina will benefit,” said Schaeffer. “North Carolina is the #1 state for heavy-duty clean diesel engine manufacturing. One in three heavy-duty clean diesel engines manufactured in the U.S. rolled off an assembly line in North Carolina. As more states look to replace or repower heavy-duty vehicles and equipment with new clean diesel models, more workers and businesses in North Caroline will get the job done.”

While clean diesel is present in North Carolina’s transportation systems, a greater adoption of the technology in heavy-duty applications would yield significant benefits for communities. Currently, 85 percent off North Carolina’s school buses, 69 percent of the state’s transit buses, and 73 percent of the heavy-duty trucks on North Carolina’s roads do not take advantage of the emissions and cost-saving benefits offered by the latest clean diesel technologies. This means that more than two-thirds of the trucks and buses on North Carolina’s roads may not meet the current air quality standards set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The bottom line: clean diesel investments yield faster reductions in NOx emissions at a lower cost,” said Schaeffer. “Clean diesel offers North Carolina more clean air for the VW dollar, faster.”

A detailed analysis of North Carolina’s NOx reduction funding options can be found at https://www.dieselforum.org/vwfund. Additional resources for North Carolina are available via a webinar, accessible at https://www.dieselforum.org/policyinsider/making-the-most-of-clean-air-investments-free-webinar-series

Visit https://www.dieselforum.org/north-carolina to learn more about clean diesel’s role in North Carolina.

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About The Diesel Technology Forum

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.


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