California: SQAMD Replaces Drayage Trucks with Natural Gas

Project Overview
Positive Impact: EERE support helps replace dryage trucks with natural gas vehicle alternatives.
Location: Los Angeles; Long Beach, California
Partners: South Coast Air Quality Management District (SQAMD) Advanced Transportation Technology and Energy; Green Fleet Systems, LLC; Overseas Freight Inc.; Long Beach Clean Cities; Los Angeles Clean Cities; Southern California Clean Cities; California Energy Commission; EPA; California Air Resources Board; Western Riverside Clean Cities; Clean Cities Coachella Valley; San Diego Community College
EERE Investment: $9,408,389
Clean Energy Sector: Sustainable transportationPDF

In 2008, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Heavy-Duty Natural Gas Drayage Truck Replacement Program started to address a significant need to reduce diesel emissions and associated public health risks from goods movement at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In 2010, the two ports processed goods worth more than $293 billion with about 10,000 heavy-duty trucks. The two ports represent the largest source of diesel emissions in the region, and studies by the California Air Resources Board and AQMD have linked emissions from the ports to very high levels of cancer risks to nearby residents.

This program started with an early grant from the California Air Resources Board, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant, and funds from the AQMD Clean Fuels Program. The program provides a financial incentive to truck owners/operators for the purchase of a natural gas truck. To be eligible for the grant, truck owners/operators must scrap an old, in-use diesel truck and replace it with the natural gas vehicle. The early grant allowed AQMD to leverage additional funding from the ports, EPA, EERE, and the California Energy Commission to expand the program and deploy more natural gas vehicles.

In 2011, EERE awarded the project approximately $9.4 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help fund at least 180 natural gas trucks. In total, AQMD has helped deploy about 700 trucks at the ports and nearby transportation corridors and leveraged about $67.7 million in grant funds under the Heavy-Duty Natural Gas Drayage Truck Replacement Program.

The project has helped many independent owners and operators stay in business by providing a grant to reduce the incremental cost of purchasing a natural gas truck. With the phase-out of older diesel trucks at the ports, many small fleets were faced with the difficult decision of buying a new truck, buying a MY2007 "used" truck, or going out of business. Between the funding and extensive outreach, including multilingual outreach when necessary, the EERE grant has helped many small fleets stay in business and operate clean, low-emission natural gas vehicles. Long Beach Clean Cities, Western Riverside Clean Cities, Coachella Valley Region Clean Cities, and the Southern California Clean Cities coalitions were vital to carrying out this project.

The Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) develops and deploys efficient and environmentally friendly highway transportation technologies that will enable America to use less petroleum. These technologies will provide Americans with greater freedom of mobility and energy security, while lowering costs and reducing impacts on the environment.

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