The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in conjunction with the Coalition for Responsible Transportation and the Environmental Defense Fund, is launching a new initiative to protect public health and the environment and promote sustainable economic growth by reducing pollution from thousands of short-haul trucks that service the nation’s ports. The new EPA SmartWay initiative will green the nation’s supply chain by reducing harmful diesel emissions from dray trucks – large diesel trucks that are widely used in port facilities to haul freight from cargo ships to nearby local distribution points.
“U.S. ports generate jobs and are critical to our nation’s economy,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “EPA’s SmartWay dray truck initiative will help ports contribute to their local economies – while protecting the air quality, environment and public health of nearby communities.”
Many of the dray trucks today are older and dirtier than trucks used on highways, and contribute to serious public health and environmental challenges at ports and surrounding areas. Model year 1994 and older dray trucks emit approximately 60 times more fine particle (PM 2.5) emissions than model year 2007 and newer trucks. PM 2.5 is linked to premature deaths, heart attacks, childhood asthma and increased emergency room and hospital visits.
Under the SmartWay dray truck initiative, carriers sign an agreement with EPA to track and reduce PM 2.5 emissions by 50 percent and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by 25 percent below the industry average over a three year period. In addition, SmartWay dray shipper partners will commit to use the cleaner trucks to haul 75 percent or more of port freight. Charter shipper partners in the program include Best Buy, The Home Depot, Hewlett Packard, JC Penney, Lowe's, Nike, Target, and Walmart.
Under the agreement and through the incentives, EPA and its SmartWay partners expect to build on the SmartWay program’s success in cutting fuel costs, reducing harmful diesel emissions, preserving jobs, and protecting air quality. Since 2004, SmartWay partners including many of the country’s top retailers, trucking and rail companies and manufacturers have reduced fuel use, cut foreign oil imports by 50 million barrels and saved an estimated $6.1 billion in fuel costs.
SmartWay contributes to the agency’s goal for improving air quality goals by eliminating harmful air emissions including 16.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 234,000 tons of NOx, and 9,000 tons of particulate matter.
In addition over the past decade, EPA has set emissions standards for new diesel engines, such as trucks, buses, locomotives and boats. The standards are projected to prevent tens of thousands of deaths every year when fully implemented.