In light of the COP21 Paris Climate Conference, New York City Mayor, Bill DeBlasio, has announced a major initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the city’s large fleet of light duty and heavy duty vehicles. To meet its goals, the initiative relies heavily on new technology diesel engines and bio-based diesel fuels.The New York City Clean Fleet Initiative announced intent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the city’s fleet by 80% by 2050 in comparison to 2005. “New York City’s announcement along with those from San Francisco and Oakland, California, in embracing new clean diesel technology as a key greenhouse gas reduction strategy sends a very strong statement about the confidence and performance of this technology, and the role in using advanced renewable biofuels,” said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
“Much of the attention on the plan has focused on efforts to convert the city’s enormous light duty fleet to all electric vehicles. However, only 9% of the initiative’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction is attributable to electric vehicle plan. It’s the other major features of the announcement that pertain to heavy duty vehicles and new diesel fuels that will contribute a far larger benefit.”
By 2017, NYC is planning to have 90% of its medium and heavy duty diesel fleet as model year 2007, or newer, diesel vehicles that provide substantial air quality benefits. In addition, the city plans to adopt more heavy duty vehicles that meet the first ever fuel economy requirements for commercial vehicles established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These fuel-sipping medium and heavy duty vehicles are anticipated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about the same percentage as the switch to electric vehicles in the City’s light duty fleet.
“The biggest cut in greenhouse gas emissions will be the City’s effort to switch to first and second generation bio-based diesel fuels and CNG,” Schaeffer said. “The City’s Department of Sanitation maintains one of the largest public fleets of heavy duty vehicles and has been testing higher blends of biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel. Already, NYC requires the use of B5 (5% blend) and incorporates B20 (20% blend) during summer months. According to the initiative, the City could achieve an immediate 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions using a year round B20 blend.”
Following in the footsteps of San Francisco and Oakland, NYC is seeking to require the use of renewable diesel fuel. Earlier this year, San Francisco announced that all diesel vehicles in its fleet would be powered with 100% renewable diesel fuel.
“Renewable diesel fuel provides the potential for enormous greenhouse gas reductions,” Schaeffer said. “However, according to the document, renewable diesel fuel is currently unavailable on the East Coast in large volumes. In anticipation of wider availability of the fuel, New York City plans to transition its medium and heavy duty fuel mix to include one third renewable diesel, one third B20, and one third CNG. This combination of cleaner fuels will achieve an impressive 34% of the planned greenhouse gas emissions reduction.”
In conjunction with COP21 Paris Climate Conference, many cities and large municipalities have been participating in side events during the negotiations raising awareness of climate action taken on the part of sub-national governments that are not part of the formal negotiations. New York City Mayor DeBlasio is the official climate change envoy for the UN and previously worked to establish the Compact of Mayors to raise the visibility of greenhouse gas emissions programs undertaken by cities and share best practices.
Adapted from press release Francesca Brindle
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