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February 19, 2020   |

Press Release

Minnesota Clean Air Grant Awards Take Balanced Approach to Slash Emissions by Investing in New Generation of Diesel Power

Project awards to replace older trucks with new generation of diesel power will bring faster progress on clean air

February 18, 2020 (WASHINGTON, DC) – The Diesel Technology Forum issued the following statement today on the occasion of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announcement of funding grants as part of the VW Settlement.    

“The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s grant project awards announced today will result in a windfall for clean air and climate progress with the elimination of 257 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and 11,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. It turns out that 95 percent of projects will replace older generation diesel trucks with the newest near-zero emissions generation diesel, and it is these trucks that will deliver most of the 257 tons of NOx reduced.

“MPCA took a measured and thoughtful approach, one that should be a model for other states looking to maximize emissions reductions through a mix of technologies,” said Ezra Finkin, policy director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a not-for-profit educational organization representing leaders in diesel engine and equipment manufacturing, key component suppliers and fuel interests. 

“In its recent Environmental Mitigation Trust grant award for commercial vehicles, MPCA awarded several alternative fuel projects, including natural gas and all-electric delivery vehicles, along with the replacement of older diesel trucks with new diesel models. The awards affirm that many Minnesota businesses and trucking fleets recognize and prefer diesel as the best technology to do their jobs today.  

“It is important to recognize the merits of getting newer technologies to work as soon as possible to maximize the benefits and the progress in diesel technology today which is exemplified by the fact that according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, replacing an older heavy-duty Class 8 tractor with a new diesel model can reduce 2.3 tons of oxides of nitrogen while nearly eliminating emissions of fine particles.  In fact, replacing an older commercial vehicle with a new diesel model or an all-electric option would yield about the same reductions in fine particle emissions, as most particle emissions are generated by brake and tire wear.

“To achieve near-zero emissions, today’s new generation diesel trucks utilize a proven system of advanced engine technologies, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and the most advanced emissions control technology including particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems that utilize diesel exhaust fluid to help achieve near-zero emissions for both nitrogen oxides – an ozone precursor – and fine particulate matter. 

“While new diesel commercial vehicles are cleaner, they are more efficient as well. Much like passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles are required to meet stringent fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission requirements.  Recent research shows that these more efficient trucks will eliminate 1.3 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions between 2010 and 2030 and that a diesel engine will make up 80 percent of truck sales over this time span.

“The MPCA grant awards announced today stay true to the intended purpose of the VW Settlement Funds, to mitigate excess emissions of nitrogen oxides.  Outside of Minnesota are instances where Environmental Mitigation Trust grants have been used exclusively to invest in only developing technologies, an approach that dramatically dilutes maximum clean air benefits, and in some cases defer those benefits for decades.  A reasoned approach should consider all new technologies and identify those best suited to replace the greatest number of older and higher emitting vehicles as fast as possible.  MPCA’s approach should be a model for other states looking to maximize emissions reductions through a mix of technologies.” 

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About the Diesel Technology Forum

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information, visit www.dieselforum.org.


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