Fleets and Alternative Fuels

Nevada State Clean Diesel Program - Reducing Diesel Emissions in Fleets

Nevada recognizes the need to reduce emissions from the existing fleet of diesel-powered equipment. This is particularly important where children are exposed to diesel exhaust emissions. The State of Nevada Clean Diesel Program was developed with two fundamental goals in mind:

  • to reduce the exposure of school-age children to particulate matter and other harmful components of diesel exhaust emissions from school buses, and;
  • to reduce particulate matter emissions to help improve and maintain air quality in communities across Nevada

Diesel engines are the workhorse of many fleets including school transportation fleets. Newer diesel engines manufactured since 2007 are equipped by the manufacturer with emission reduction technology. Older diesel engines, however, have no such emission controls. To reduce emissions from these older, diesel-powered school buses, a multi-phase approach was adopted by the State of Nevada Clean Diesel Program. Funded by federal grants made available through the National Clean Diesel Campaign and authorized by the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, a statewide grant program was established in Nevada to fund this effort.

During the first phase of the program in 2008 and 2009 (School Bus Retrofit Initiative), emissions were reduced from targeted model year school buses 1991 through 2004 by retrofitting them with emission reduction components. Qualifying buses were retrofitted with Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) and Closed Crankcase Ventilation (CCV) Systems selected from the EPA Verified Technology list of proven aftermarket emission reduction components. Over 250 buses were retrofitted in nine public school districts across the state.

Crankcase Ventilation Filter Disel Oxidation Catalyst
A technician installs a Crankcase Ventilation Filter system on
a school bus.
 Here, the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) has replaced the
muffler on the exhaust system.

In a second phase, the School Bus Replacement Program targeted the very oldest, diesel-powered school buses still in daily operation in school districts for replacement with new, lower-emission models. Seven new school buses meeting the most recent (2010) diesel emission standards were delivered to school districts in Nevada, removing from service an equal number of their oldest, highest mileage buses.

In 2011 a third phase of the program focused on reducing emissions by eliminating unnecessary engine idling. Diesel engines are commonly left at idle during cold weather startup. This is done to warm the engine and cabin prior to beginning the first school bus route of the day, but also results in diesel emissions to ambient air and a build-up of cabin emissions. A new type of idle-reduction technology known as a fuel operated engine heater was selected to reduce emissions. These timer-activated heaters burn a small quantity of fuel to warm the engine prior to each day’s use, eliminating the need for startup idling. In addition to emission benefits, these heaters save the school districts diesel fuel and result in less wear-and-tear on the engines. The program has installed approximately 400 fuel operated heaters in eight Nevada school districts.

Fuel Operated Heater Tymco street sweeper

A fuel operated heater is installed in the luggage compartment of this
Nevada school bus.

    Carson City’s new, clean diesel Tymco street sweeper.

In 2012, an older diesel-powered street sweeper in Las Vegas, Nevada was replaced by a new lower-emission street sweeper. The Clark County Department of Public Works took delivery of a new Elgin street sweeper meeting 2010 diesel emission standards. Then in 2013, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act program funded a similar replacement of an older diesel-powered street sweeper in Nevada’s capital, Carson City. A new Tymco street sweeper meeting 2010 diesel emission standards began service with Carson City Public Works in July, replacing an older Schwartz sweeper. In addition to reducing tailpipe emissions through their expected equipment service life, the new street sweepers will have the added benefit of reducing dust on county roads that, if left in place, would contribute to particulate matter emissions.

Alternative Fueled Vehicles (AFVS) In Fleets Program

         NRS 486A —/— NAC 486A

This program was created by the Nevada Legislature and is administered by the the Bureau of Air Quality Planning. Its purpose is to reduce motor vehicle related pollution by requiring fleets to use cleaner-burning alternative fuels. State and local government fleets based in Clark and Washoe Counties and operating 50 or more vehicles are regulated under this program.

Alternative fuels that are accepted in the program include:

  • Methanol
  • E85 (ethanol or other alcohol 85% or greater by volume)
  • CNG (compressed natural gas)
  • LPG (liquefied petroleum gas or propane)
  • Hydrogen
  • Electricity
  • Reformulated gasoline that meets California or Arizona cleaner burning fuel standards
  • Biodiesel blends from B5-B100
  • GDiesel™ fuel
  • Ethanol-diesel blends (O2Diesel)

In addition to the listed alternative fuels, allowable vehicles include:

  • Hybrid electric vehicles
  • Vehicles that have received the SmartWay or SmartWay Elite designation from the federal EPA for exceptionally low emission vehicles using conventional fuels

About 25 fleets participate statewide. 90% of new vehicle acquisitions must be alternative fuel vehicles. State regulations require that these vehicles run on one of the designated alternative fuels, or meet the definition of a hybrid electric or SmartWay certified vehicle. A little more than 10,000 vehicles are currently regulated under this program.

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