From: Andy Soos, ENN
Published January 19, 2012 10:21 AM

Trucks and Diesel Air Pollution

It is annoying to be driving behind a truck especially one that smells of diesel combustion products. Doing something about that is desirable but it will come at a tremendous cost. trucks are bought and used for years. It is not something that you replace quickly because it is costly. A common trend in environmental reporting is to put things in terms of jobs vs. the environment. For the port cities such as LA environmental protection has become more important than jobs. Once upon a time a new truck might cost $20,000. Now they are six figures which hurts the small independent truckers in particular.


At the LA port for example:

Oct. 1, 2008: All trucks manufactured before 1989 are banned from entering the Port.

Jan. 1, 2010: Trucks manufactured in 1989-1993 are banned, in addition to 1994-2003 trucks that have not been retrofitted.

Jan. 1, 2012: All trucks that do not meet the 2007 Federal Clean Truck Emissions Standards are banned from the port.

In the first year of the program, port officials estimate that it reduced pollution from trucks by about 70 percent. The program estimates that this year's rule will bring the total reduction to about 80 percent.

EPA suggests to truckers to:

* Replace oldest trucks and engines with newer trucks and engines
* Avoid Idling - Shut off the engine
* Keep engines well maintained
* Implement emissions reduction strategies, technologies and fuels (retrofit control devices, cleaner duels such as biodiesel etc.
* Operate during off-peak hours (reduces congestion and stop and go traffic problems)

One rtruck driver as quoted: "I wanted clean air," says Shannon Bell. "I wanted clean air for myself. I wanted clean air for my family."

Bell lives near the port, his son has asthma, and he's happy about the cleaner air, too.

"At the same time, you know, I didn't suspect that the truckers would end up paying the costs," Bell says.

Because, Bell says, all those new, cleaner trucks? "They cost anywhere from [$100,000] to $180,000, you know."

Retrofitting also does not always work and is just as expensive. Newer engines or controls can break too and their maintenance require special expertise and cost.

Improving the environment is good but it will hurt too.

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