A new report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that since 2008, commercial vehicle emission rules have greatly improved public health.
The Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) which has ushered in mandates for cleaner trucks, buses, trains and other heavy equipment has made a “visible difference” in the health and wellness of communities, says Janet McCabe, the EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the office of air and radiation.
The EPA says diesel exhaust significantly contributes to the formation of dangerous soot and smog and is likely to increase the risk of cancer. The funding from the program has helped clean up approximately 335,200 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 14,700 tons of particulate matter (PM), which are linked to a range of respiratory ailments and premature death. The program has also saved 450 million gallons of fuel and prevented 4.8 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions from more than 900,000 cars. EPA estimates that clean diesel funding generates up to $13 of public health benefit for every $1 spent on diesel projects.
The report claims up to $12.6 billion has been monetized in health benefits and prevented up to 1,700 fewer premature deaths.