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Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Partnership

The Motivation / The Challenge

Reducing emissions from diesel engines is one of the most important air quality challenges facing the United States. In 2009, diesel emissions from mobile sources accounted for approximately 300,000 tons of directly emitted particulate matter and 6.4 million tons of nitrogen dioxide, coming from approximately 20 million operating diesel engines. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the transportation sector directly accounted for about 28 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2006, making it the second largest source of GHG emissions, behind only electricity generation (34 percent). According to the Clean Air Task Force, these emissions will cause an estimated 21,000 premature adult deaths and 2.4 million loss work days.

The Project

To help meet the challenge of reducing pollutants from diesel engines, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the National Clean Diesel Campaign (NCDC). This campaign comprises of regulatory programs that offer support to innovative technologies that can help address the 20 million operating diesel engines. One such program–the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA)– began in 2005 and offers funding assistance for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions.

This project will achieve significant reduction in diesel emissions by installing aerodynamic side skirts for over 2,000 truck trailers. Specifically, the grant will enable Tacoma’s Interstate Distributor Co. to implement one of the trucking industry’s largest installations of aerodynamic trailer side skirts to date – using an innovative new product engineered by Freight Wing Inc. in Seattle. Interstate selected the Freight Wing “Aeroflex” product through a rigorous testing program that evaluated several emerging efficiency technologies verified by the EPA Smartway Transport initiative.

The Results

What will this project accomplish? The EPA and PPRC predict a seven percent reduction of diesel fuel consumption and emissions for over 2,000 trailers in the Interstate fleet, resulting in estimated annual savings of 1.1 million gallons of diesel. Over the product life-span, this will result a total savings of approximately 16 million gallons of fuel, $45 million, and prevent 182,633 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, this significant reduction will improve the air quality in Puget Sound communities by minimizing the toxins found in diesel emissions that are associated with cancer, pulmonary and cardiovascular health issues, and others.

The project is one of the largest implementations of the EPA’s SmartWay-verified aerodynamic technologies on heavy-duty Class 8 trucks and will provide additional jobs for local Puget Sound communities. This partnership will help to establish EPA Region 10 as a global leader in the development and use of the new technology.

These results now have an even larger impact on protecting human health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), recently classified  diesel engine exhaust as a Group 1 carcinogen based on new evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer





Len Davis of Pangeality Productions produced this short video while on assignment for PPRC at Interstate Distributor Co. headquarters in Tacoma, Washington. Lee Owens, VP of Fleet Operations, gives a tour of the installation bay where the sideskirts are being installed on trailers and talks about the savings to his company and the community as a result of our partnership.

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