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Keep on clean trucking: Vigilance reduces LA smog

Posting in Technology

Strict management of truck inventories and technology retrofits are key to progress.

The port of Los Angeles has reported an appreciable reduction in several types of emissions associated with its cargo-handling operations. And the success is in large part due to something very simple: requiring the use of clean trucks.

Compared with 2008, diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions are off 37 percent, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions have declined 28 percent, and sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions were reduced by 36 percent. Compared with 2005 levels, the results are even more compelling: DPM is off 52 percent, NOx is off 36 percent, and SOx is off 56 percent. You can download the complete inventory here. The port authority is clear that the reductions are appreciable even when freight traffic reductions related to the economic recession are considered.

The port is managing the emissions reductions through a comprehensive Clean Air Action Plan. Right now, the authority says it is more than halfway toward its 10-year targets under that plan.

One big part of the reduction is related to truck retrofits that are part of its Clean Truck program.

Two years ago, the port banned any pre-1989 truck from entering the port, and earlier this year, it banned trucks from 1989 to 1993 that had not been retrofitted. The authority has been methodically replacing engines for harbor craft and/or retrofitting them with pollution control devices. It also has been experimenting with the use of alternative fuels and power systems. The next big deadline is Jan. 1, 2012, when any truck that does not meet the 2007 Federal Clean Truck Emissions Standards will be banned.

Right now, the port has 6,600 clean trucks, including 600 natural gas trucks.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure