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Monday, June 26, 2006

News From My Backyard: SmartWay Partnership Targets Fuel Efficiency and Emissions Reduction Upgrades for West Coast Trucks

Small-to-medium trucking firms in Oregon, California, and Washington have a new way to become more environmentally friendly while saving money. According to an EPA press release, a new, innovative partnership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency aims to upgrade 400 trucks traveling along the West Coast's I-5 Corridor with fuel-saving and pollution-reduction technologies.

The SmartWay Transport Partnership is a voluntary collaboration between U.S. EPA and the freight industry designed to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution.

The partnership's members, including the US EPA, the US Department of Transportation, Oregon’s Departments of Transportation and Energy, and Cascade Sierra Solutions have announced a plan to upgrade 400 long-haul trucks from small-to-medium trucking firms in Oregon, California, and Washington with SmartWay upgrade kits.

The kits package together a variety of fuel and emissions-saving technologies and typically consist of engine idle reduction technology, low rolling-resistance tires, improved aerodynamics and exhaust after-treatment devices.

According to the press release, SmartWay Upgrade Kits can reduce fuel consumption, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxide emissions by as much as 20%. When the kit includes an exhaust after-treatment device, particulate matter emissions are reduced by 25% to 90%, depending upon the type of technology.

Because of the fuel savings, upfront capital costs of SmartWay kits are generally paid back within one to three years, the EPA reports. In addition to the short payback period, if a loan is needed to purchase an upgrade kit, the monthly fuel savings exceed the monthly loan payments, thus increasing profits from the first day companies use the kits.

"The freight industry drives America's economy, and through EPA's SmartWay program, truckers are keeping more money in their pockets while helping us all breathe a little easier," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.

By 2012, the SmartWay program, with full participation, estimates nationwide annual fuel savings of 3.3 to 6.6 billion gallons of diesel fuel, eliminating 66 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and up to 200,000 tons of NOx emissions.

[A hat tip to Green Car Congress and Oregon Public Broadcasting]

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