EPA's SmartWay releasing fuel-saving 'kits' to West Coast truckers

| 6/26/2006

Small- and medium-sized trucking firms in Oregon, California, and Washington have a new way to be more environmentally friendly, while saving money on fuel at the same time.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program is planning to upgrade 400 trucks traveling along the West Coast’s Interstate 5 Corridor in the three states by offering fuel-saving and pollution-reduction technologies.

“The freight industry drives America’s economy, and through EPA’s SmartWay program, truckers are keeping more money in their pockets while helping us all breathe a little easier,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson in a press release.

EPA has partnered with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Oregon’s Departments of Transportation and Energy and Cascade Sierra Solutions to make its SmartWay upgrade kits available for long-haul trucks. The kits package together a variety of fuel and emissions-saving technologies and typically consist of engine idle-reduction technology, low rolling resistance tires, improved aerodynamics and exhaust after-treatment devices.

Joe Suchecki, director of public affairs for the Engine Manufacturers Association, said exhaust after-treatment devices could cause engine problems via exhaust backpressure if the devices are not properly installed. However, he said his organization is generally supportive of retrofit devices, since they help reduce operating costs and emissions simultaneously.

“Engine manufacturers generally will favor retrofits, and we’ve been supporting this type of technology,” Suchecki said. “It just has to be carefully done. You can’t necessarily retrofit all vehicles, and you have to make sure that it does fit the engine and there aren’t any problems with it.”

According to a SmartWay press release, the upgrade kits – which will vary in cost depending on which options a trucker selects – can reduce fuel consumption, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by as much as 20 percent. When the kit includes an exhaust after-treatment device, particulate matter emissions are reduced by 25 percent to 90 percent, depending upon the type of technology.

For more information on the SmartWay upgrade kits, visit http://www.epa.gov/smartway. For information on financing options through SmartWay, check out http://www.epa.gov/smartway/documents/420f06016.pdf.