The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced a grant program this week that will help get more diesel trucks off the state’s roads.
TCEQ plans to release a total of $5.7 million to businesses hoping to replace their diesel-powered fleets with either hybrid or electric vehicles or vehicles powered by compressed natural gas, liquified natural gas, hydrogen, propane, or fuels containing 85% methanol by volume.
To be eligible, businesses must own or lease a fleet of 75 vehicles and plan to convert at least twenty of them. The TCEQ says they will require reductions of nitrogen oxide emissions of at least 25 percent. The grants will be competitive, given to the conversions that will have the least cost per ton of nitrogen oxide reduced.
This means small businesses and individuals will have a hard time being eligible for the grants, but Joe Walton, who manages grant implementation at the TCEQ, says there are other programs available to smaller parties.
Walton says Clean Fleet’s aim is to get the most emissions off the road. So the program isn’t likely to replace older trucks that may be off the roads soon anyway. But Walton says they aim to “get rid of the vehicles early, the ones you’ll see out there on the road for the another five years.”
Walton notes that the fuel parties choose to convert to doesn’t matter as much as how dirty the car they’re replacing is. They aim to get the most emissions off the road — so the heaviest-emitting vehicles will be replaced by the cleanest running ones, like electric. Those proposals are most likely to be funded, Walton says.
“The condition of the old equipment weighs on our decision,” he says. “We want the emission reduction. It’s the old vehicle that’s most important.”
Applications for the Clean Fleet Program will be accepted until August 29th. The program runs biannually and has already seen an impact in emission reduction, the TCEQ says.