NEWS RELEASE

STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION IS CLEARING THE AIR BY REDUCING DIESEL EMMISSIONS IN AGING TRUCKS

Environmental Protection Agency Grant Will Retrofit Dump Trucks with Special Filters and Equipment

(April 28, 2010) – Keeping a vehicle in good working order as it ages can be quite a challenge, especially after the warranty runs out.   Keeping a 18-ton dump truck driven an average 8,000 miles per year in the worst weather in good condition is even more of a challenge – and seemingly impossible to do for more than 10 years.   But to their credit, State Highway Administration (SHA) mechanics and field maintenance technicians have done just that – with 120 of SHA’s 700  heavy duty-fleet pre-dating 2004. 

To bring those trucks’ emissions up to the latest air quality standards, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association recently awarded a $250,000 grant to SHA to retrofit up to 120 older trucks (nearly all) with equipment to reduce vehicle emissions by up to 50 percent.

“Extending the life of our older trucks saves taxpayers money by not having to replace vehicles more often,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.  “We appreciate that the EPA and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association are helping us bring these older vehicles up to modern day emission standards, improving air quality for all Marylanders.”

“Reducing diesel fuel emissions is clearly a step in the right direction in the larger struggle to improve air quality,” said Shawn M. Garvin, EPA's mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “Equipping dump trucks with filters, reducing engine idling time for maintenance equipment and establishing meadows along roadsides shows Maryland is a leader in its commitment to a greener highway system.”

SHA will install the equipment on up to 120 trucks throughout the State this summer.  Some of the trucks were built in the mid-1990’s.  The equipment will reduce particulate matter, the black smoke visible when a diesel-powered truck initially starts, and in hydrocarbons that are not completely combusted in the diesel engine.  The equipment will also reduce nitrogen oxide, a leading contributor to smog and contributes to “Ozone Action Days” during the hot summer months.  Newer trucks include emission reducing equipment at the time of purchase.

SHA will conduct a pre and post vehicle emission evaluations to evaluate effectiveness of the equipment.  SHA is applying for additional grants to install equipment on more dump trucks in different regions across the State. 

Additionally, SHA is using a five percent blend of bio-diesel fuel in dump trucks and diesel powered machinery.  Biodiesel fuel is a clean burning alternative fuel that is produced from renewable resources, such as soybeans.  Biodiesel fuel can be blended with standard diesel fuel in different percentages ranging from five percent to 100 percent.  SHA has been using biodiesel fuel since 2005. SHA is also helping to clean the air by using alternative fuel supplements in a portion of light duty fleet vehicles.  These and the other earth-friendly processes and procedures are consistent with Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green and Growing Initiative. 

Introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley in October 2008, Maryland’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative was created to strengthen the state’s leadership role in fostering smarter, more sustainable growth and inspiring action among all Marylanders to achieve a more sustainable future. The initiative brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
   
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