Diesel Retrofits

While ports are critical hubs of economic activity, they’re also major sources of diesel pollution. The constant movement of goods means there is a steady stream of truck, boat, and train traffic, in addition to diesel-powered cranes and other machinery used to load and unload cargo. In Philadelphia and Wilmington low-income residential neighbors are forced to bear the brunt of the pollution.

Diesel exhaust contains more than 40 toxic chemicals and may result in cancer, exacerbation of asthma, and other health problems. According to the American Lung Association, diesel engines account for about 26% of the hazardous particulate pollution from fuel combustion sources in our air, and nearly two-thirds of the particulate pollution from on-road sources. Diesel engines also produce nearly 20% of the nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the air, a major contributor to ozone and smog.

The Council is a member of the Diesel Difference program to fight this pollution. Currently, the Council is prioritizing reducing emissions from drayage trucks, marine vessels such as tugboats, and off-road equipment (such as diesel-powered construction vehicles) through its diesel retrofits and marine vessel repowering programs in Philadelphia and Wilmington.

Diesel Difference helps finance the switch from old, inefficient engines to new, cleaner-burning ones. When an eligible company provides proof that it has removed and permanently disabled an older engine from one of its vehicles, Diesel Difference covers some of the costs of purchasing a better one. Often times the engines getting upgraded are over 20 years old and have considerably worse MPG ratings and less-efficient combustion than the newer models. To date, Diesel Difference has upgraded tugboats, trucks, and even port facilities themselves.

For more information on the program please contact John Lee at 215-567-4004 ext. 105, or email jlee@cleanair.org.

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