When it comes to air quality, Long Beach and Los Angeles County rank among the most polluted areas in the nation. According to the 2019 “State of the Air” report released by the American Lung Association (ALA) last month, Southern California residents “face the most challenging air pollution levels in the United States.”
Carbon emissions from fossil-fuel use hit a record last year after energy demand grew at its fastest pace in a decade, reflecting higher oil consumption in the U.S. and more coal burning in China and India.
Those findings from the International Energy Agency mark a setback for the effort to rein in the pollution blamed for global warming just three years after a landmark deal in Paris where all nations committed to cut emissions.
The figures showed that natural gas is becoming a preferred fuel for factories and utilities while the pace of installing renewable forms of energy is lagging. The report also indicated the strength of the global economic expansion last year, with gains in electricity consumption and more notably in the U.S.
“We have seen spectacular growth of the economy in the U.S.,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the Paris-based institution advising nations on energy policy. “We have seen several new petrochemical projects coming online.”
California’s Air Resources Board fined a Chicago-based auto-parts dealer $294,000 in October for selling used filters, or DPFs, which are illegal in the state. That penalty follows a probe last year involving a repair shop in Fresno that was caught selling and installing illegal parts and sparked the ARB to investigate multiple other diesel repair shops in California’s Central Valley.
The Environmental Protection Agency began requiring new heavy-duty trucks to use DPFs in 2007. The filters can reduce particulate-matter emissions by as much as 90 percent.
A typical DPF installation costs $10,000 to $20,000 when purchased new. That’s one of the reasons why less costly used filters are becoming a problem for air regulators. Preowned filters often cost as little as $3,000 to $5,000, according to the Air Resources Board.
“We’re finding an increased number of fleets installing used DPFs,” said Heather Quiros, chief of the California ARB Diesel Programs Enforcement Branch.
Todd Dills, Senior Editor of Overdrive magazine discusses a new bill introduced this month in the Washington State House that seeks to require all trucks doing business at port terminals in Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver to be powered by 2007 or newer model engines.
"The bill, if passed, would require all drayage trucks moving into and out of high-volume ports (with a total of more than 20 million annual tons of “domestic and foreign waterborne trade,” including Seattle and Tacoma) to be of 2007 and newer model year engines by January 1, 2019. It’s a strategy that has been pursued at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports previously, likewise more recently in New York and New Jersey.
Under the terms of the bill, further, by “January 1, 2035, all drayage trucks delivering goods to or receiving goods from a high-volume port must be zero emission vehicles.”
The nationwide growth in demand for fresher foods has contributed to a boom in the refrigerated transportation sector. But tighter food-handling standards and emission regulations are limiting the load flexibility and utilization options that carriers may have had in the past while driving significantly higher equipment and operating costs.
The challenge refrigerated carriers face, industry executives said, is to use the newer trailers and technologies available today to maximize utilization and load flexibility within the constraints of the cold chain and emission regulations.
“The need for temperature-control transportation is a growing trend in the United States,” said Mark Domzalski, senior vice president of sales and operations with Newark, N.J-based PLM Trailer Leasing. Legislation and activities involving the Food Safety Modernization Act “are requiring more stringent measures of control for the transport of food across the U.S.”