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August 02, 2018   |

Press Release

More Clean Air for the Dollar for Tennessee by Upgrading Largest NOx Emissions Sources with New Technology Diesel Engines

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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.



August 2, 2018 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – As Tennessee begins evaluating options for its $45.8 million share of the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust, the state can maximize the clean air opportunity by targeting the largest nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitters in the region, and upgrading those sources with advanced diesel technology.

“Tennessee 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. According to the latest NOx emissions inventory, the largest sources of NOx in Tennessee are engines that power heavy-duty vehicles and equipment. Replacing the oldest technology of these engines with the newest clean diesel option is hands down the most cost-effective, immediate method to get the most clean air for the settlement dollar.”

“New technology clean diesel upgrades for Tennessee’s trucks, tugboats, switcher locomotives, school and transit buses, and construction equipment will deliver the fastest and most significant clean air benefits to communities all across the state. 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.”

The purpose of the Trust is to reduce emissions of 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.

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 advanced 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.

“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 Tennessee must answer.”

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 reduction, compared to more than $30,000 per ton of NOx for many other 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.

While clean diesel is present in Tennessee’s transportation systems, a greater adoption of the technology in heavy-duty applications would yield significant benefits for communities. Currently, 98 percent of Tennessee’s school buses and transit buses are diesel, 78 percent of the heavy-duty trucks on Tennessee’s roads are diesel. Yet a majority of these buses and trucks are older generation and not equipped with the new near zero emissions technology.

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

A detailed analysis of Tennessee’s NOx reduction funding options can be found at https://www.dieselforum.org/vwfund. Additional resources for Tennessee 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/tennessee to learn more about clean diesel’s role in Tennessee.


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Media Inquiries:
Sarah Dirndorfer
Manager, Media Relations
sdirndorfer@dieselforum.org
(301) 668-7230

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