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Mobile Sources

Mobile sources (e.g., trucks, buses, passenger cars, construction equipment, locomotives, and other types of vehicles) are major contributors to air pollution in the Northeast states because they emit smog-forming pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and hydrocarbons (HC) as well as particulate matter (PM), toxics, and greenhouse gases (GHGs). The contribution of mobile sources to pollution emissions generally, and to GHG emissions in particular, will continue to grow as both the number of vehicles and the total miles traveled increases. Thus, finding ways to reduce emissions from mobile sources will continue to be vitally important for achieving the air quality and climate change objectives of the NESCAUM states.

The NESCAUM Mobile Sources Team works to reduce criteria and GHG emissions from motor vehicles by providing policy guidance and expert technical support to member states. The work often directly addresses important regulatory programs and policy initiatives, such as meeting federal Clean Air Act requirements pertaining to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, fine particulate matter, and carbon monoxide or improving visibility in the region through fine particulate emissions control. The group also works with state and federal regulators, local community groups, legislators, and environmental organizations to develop policy options for reducing adverse impacts on air quality and climate from mobile sources and to assist in the design of associated regulatory programs.

Among its recent accomplishments, the NESCAUM Mobile Sources Team has published cutting-edge research on opportunities for reducing motor vehicle GHG emissions; designed and overseen diesel retrofit programs for trucks, buses, and construction and port equipment; spearheaded anti-idling pilot programs in the region ; published analyses of the emissions benefits of adopting California motor vehicle emissions control programs in the Northeast; and analyzed fuel quality issues for both diesel and gasoline. Achievements include:

  • Assessing the public health, air quality, and economic benefits of introducing lower sulfur content gasoline in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States.
  • Analyzing the economic impacts of a program to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
  • Completing a technical study that assesses available and emerging technologies that could be used to reduce GHG emissions and lower fuel consumption from new heavy-duty long haul combination trucks in the United States in the 2012 to 2017 timeframe.
  • Developing technical documents to assist Northeast states in evaluating and adopting California emissions standards for light- and heavy-duty motor vehicles.
  • Completing a technical study that evaluated the potential for reducing GHG emissions from new passenger vehicles within the next decade. This study provided the basis for motor vehicle GHG standards adopted by the State of California.
  • Assisting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the design and implementation of voluntary heavy-duty diesel retrofit programs.
  • Supporting heavy-duty diesel retrofit programs in the Northeast (and in other regions) by developing emission reduction partnerships, providing hands-on management of retrofit projects, and evaluating testing methods and technologies.
  • Publishing several studies that explore policy options for reducing diesel emissions in the Northeast and elsewhere in the United States.
  • Providing interactive, web-based tools to assess the local air quality and public health benefits of implementing anti-idling technology along the I-95 corridor.
  • Developing and disseminating education and outreach materials on diesel reduction strategies and distributing them to the public and to advocates focused on environmental justice and low-income communities.

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