More than 73,000 older diesel powered engines were upgraded or replaced between 2008 to 2013 because of Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) funding which resulted in major clean air benefits and fuel savings, according a new report issued today – “Third Report to Congress: Highlights from the Diesel Emission Reduction Program” – by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“This report confirms the enormous success in achieving air quality benefits by introducing new clean diesel technologies across the spectrum of older on-road vehicles and heavy-duty equipment,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
“While new diesel technology and fuels have achieved near zero emission levels, DERA is the leading program that upgrades or replaces older diesel engines with newer technology to reduce emissions.
“Thanks to the bipartisan work in both the House and Senate, DERA has proven to be a highly effective program that has reduced emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 335,000 tons. This is nearly equivalent to removing the emissions from every residential furnace and boiler in the U.S. for an entire year.”
Report highlights how DERA benefits communities in all 50 states
According to the report, funding provided by DERA between 2008 and 2013:
Retrofitted or replaced 73,000 vehicles and equipment Reduced particulate matter emissions by 14,700 tons Saved 450 million gallons of fuel and Generated almost US$13 billion in environmental benefits.
“These benefits are tangible and show that DERA is benefiting communities in all 50 states with improved air quality,” Schaeffer said.
“State and local clean air regulators have relied on DERA funding as a key tool to help move communities toward compliance as new and more stringent clean air requirements for Ozone and PM are set to take effect.”
Coalition of Environmental, Health & Industry Groups Support DERA
Since its creation in 2005, DERA has been supported by a bipartisan coalition of several hundred environmental and public health organizations, industry representatives, and state and local government associations including the American Lung Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists and National School Transportation Association. These groups continue to work together in educating Congress about these benefits and the importance of continued funding for the program.
DERA Clean Air Projects Results in 13-1 Benefit-to-Cost Ratio
DERA provides $1 in federal assistance to attract US$3 in non-federal matching funds to generate, on average, US$13 in environmental and health benefits by helping the owners of older diesel vehicles and equipment retrofit, repower or replace with clean diesel technologies.
“The federal share of the DERA funding represents a small share of the total cost of each project to encourage owners to retrofit or replace with new clean technologies,” Schaeffer said.
School Bus Grants Highlight DERA Benefits
“Nowhere is the effectiveness of DERA more pronounced than the school bus rebate program,” said Schaeffer. “Interested school bus operators are provided just enough incentive funding to scrap and replace older buses as opposed to selling that older bus on the secondary market.
“This new report also highlights the changes to the application process that has substantially reduced administrative costs for EPA and applicants. It’s no surprise that the DERA program receives high marks from lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.”
Need for Continuation of DERA Remains Strong
Despite this success, the need for DERA’s incentive funding still exists. According to the report, 10.3 million older diesel engines are still in use across the country and over one million of these engines will remain in use by 2030.
“In addition, DERA funding is extremely competitive,” Schaeffer said. “The grant program has perpetually been oversubscribed with applications exceeding available funding by a 35-to-1 ratio.”