The 20 million diesel engines operating nationwide today provide more power and fuel efficiency than those that burn gasoline or natural gas. However, these engines emit more than 300,000 tons of particulate matter (PM) and more than 6 million tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) into the air annually. These pollutants contribute to public health problems such as asthma, lung cancer, and many more serious cardiac and respiratory diseases.
Diesel engines manufactured today are cleaner than ever before, thanks to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. Since diesel engines can operate for more than 30 years, millions of older higher polluting engines are still in use today. Thus the Diesel Emissions Reduction Program or “DERA” was created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The act gave the EPA the ability to promote diesel emission reductions by giving states the ability to provide grant monies. These grants are used to provide funding for local fleets to replace, repower, or retrofit older higher emitting diesel engines with newer diesels or newer vehicles that use alternative fuels.