Funding for a new initiative that will result in significantly reduced diesel emissions in Oregon could result in cleaner air and healthier residents in North Portland.
Diesel emissions contribute to asthma and other health problems experienced by residents in the area, which includes many industrial sites.
The effort to curtail diesel emissions is being led by a group called Oregon Solutions North Portland Diesel Emissions Reduction Project.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski appointed community leaders Algie Gatewood, president of Portland Community College's Cascade Campus, and Carl Talton, of Portland Family of Funds, as co-conveners.
In partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the trucking industry, the state will make available $5 million in tax credits and loans available for truckers who buy retrofits that reduce diesel emissions from a new nonprofit organization called Cascade Sierra Solutions.
"Long-haul trucks will be able to both reduce diesel emissions and save money on gas," Kulongoski said. "I think this is a win for everyone: Truckers save money and Oregonians get cleaner air."
The freight industry will be given financial incentives from the state of Oregon and the federal government in return for purchase of the kits from Cascade Sierra Solutions. Each kit is estimated to result in fuel savings of 5,000 gallons of diesel per year per truck. SmartWay Upgrade Kits include:
• Engine idle reduction technology, such as an auxiliary power unit, direct fired heater or truck stop electrification;
• Low rolling resistance tires;
• Improved aerodynamics for tractors and trailers; and
• Exhaust after-treatment devices, such as oxidation catalysts and particulate filters.
Truck drivers should see a net savings of $1.8 million per year in reduced fuel costs and reduced wear and tear. Carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by over 33,000 tons per year and carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulate matter will be reduced by more than 852 tons per year.
In a related effort, the state of Oregon signed a declaration of cooperation to reduce diesel emissions in North Portland. As part of this effort, Oregon state agencies will use more biodiesel in their fleets. Officials from the Oregon Department of Transportation said the department already is using a blend of 20 percent biodiesel in all of its diesel fuel use in the Portland Metro region, including North Portland.
"We're making progress on the fight for cleaner air in Oregon," Kulongoski said. "Every step we take that reduces emissions is a way to combat global warming."