Green Bus

Federal Clean Diesel Grants Helping Out in Ohio

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson visited with Ohio state officials last week and announced $5 million was coming their way for clean diesel projects, including more than $1 million for school buses.

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New Propane Yard Unveiled for LAUSD Buses

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Some students in the San Fernando Valley will soon be boarding school buses powered by propane, and School Transportation of America maintenance staff and drivers located at the company’s North Hollywood yard were scheduled to begin receiving training on how to use a new fueling station installed at the company’s new facilities located just off the Hollywood Freeway.
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Socal School Districts Receive Largest Replacement Grant

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. — Los Angeles Unified School District will replace 260 of its oldest diesel buses with new CNG and propane vehicles following a $43 million vehicle replacement grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District awarded to a total of 13 districts, signaling the return of the state’s Lower-Emission School Bus Program amid a new 1-percent sales tax increase affecting state vehicle purchases.
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Emission Standards

Governmental vehicle emission standards began in 1959 in California. The federal government became involved eight years later as Congress passed the Air Quality Act of 1967, which designated air quality regions throughout the country and gave states the responsibility for adopting and enforcing pollution control standards in those regions. In 1970, President Richard Nixon brought those responsibilities under one umbrella with the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. Since then, the EPA has regulated diesel fuel emissions on an almost annual basis.

Engine manufacturers operated under a 1998 consent decree that, among other things, mandated meeting the 2004 emission standards by October 2002. This "tier 1" regulation targeted the use of low sulphur diesel fuel.

Engine manufacturers began meeting stringent 2007 EPA diesel emission standards for diesel's most common pollutants -- Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Particulate Matter (PM) and Hydrocarbons (HC) -- and reduced the levels to 0.20, 0.01 and .14 grams/brake-horsepower-hour, respectively, through the use of diesel oxidation catalysts and the introduction of ultra low sulphur diesel.

Even stricter engine "tier 3" standards went  into place in 2010 that required diesel particular filters and Selective Catalyst Reduction to be included on the fuel system built at the factory. This technology required the use of urea-based "Diesel Exhaust Fluid" to be added to the vehicle separate from the fuel tank. 

EPA and NHTSA partnered to promulgate "Phase I" greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for commercial vehicles in 2011. The latest round of federal emissions regulations, or "Phase II" started in 2018 governing commercial vehicles manufactured with model years 20121-2027. The goal is to lower CO2 emissions by approximately 1.1 billion metric tons, save commercial vehicle owners fuel costs of about $170 billion and reduce oil consumption by up to two billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program.

See DieselNet and the EPA for more in-depth information regarding diesel emission standards. The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center has a comprehensive list of federal and state laws.



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EPA Demo Projects

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the Clean School Bus USA Program in 2002 to reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust and the amount of air pollution created by older, diesel school buses that emitted high levels of soot. The target is to replace 400,000 soot-emitting school buses off the nation's roads by 2010 through purchases of newer, lower emission vehicles, engine and tailpipe retrofits such as diesel oxidation catalysts and particulate matter filters, idle reduction policies and technology and the purchase of clean fuels. Since its inception, the program, which has been rolled It is one of four programs rolled up under EPA's National Clean Diesel Campaign.

School districts across the country have applied for both federal and state grant funds and received awards to update their older school bus fleets.

As part of Clean School Bus USA, EPA encourages participating school districts to incorporate lessons learned in proper vehicle maintenance, which includes regular preventative maintenance and proper selection and analysis of retrofit technologies and alternative fuels. As part of its Clean School Bus USA Program, the EPA recommends school districts employ proper preventative maintenance to ensure that school buses remain in tip-top shape and function in as environmentally friendly way as possible. This includes: replacing intake air filters and monitoring fuel and oil consumption; repairing all exhaust leaks; exercising caution when considering the use of fuel additives; retaining engine profile information and; monitoring engines and fuel systems for leaks.



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