Private fleets and construction reduce emissions by lowering fuel consumption: diesel emission reduction in Kansas City

This the final post in a five-part series about diesel emissions reduction in the Kansas City area. Previous posts included information about how schools, railroads and local government and utilities are working to make Kansas City’s air cleaner.

DERA-Blog-private-sector-2In earlier blog posts, we talked about diesel retrofit investments made by public entities and rail. Enterprising private fleets and businesses are also a big part of these programs. Like the rail companies, private fleets have taken particular interest in idle reduction and fuel efficiency retrofits, which ultimately reduce vehicle emissions — and improve air quality — by lowering fuel consumption.

Three types of retrofits are most widely used by private entities. The first is retrofitting auxiliary power units (APUs) on Long Haul Class 8 diesel-powered tractor-trailer combinations. These units are small, diesel-operated generators that can power the environmental cab controls, allowing a driver to sleep comfortably and use electrical appliances without idling the vehicle when stopped for the night. The functions provided by an APU vary significantly based on the size of the unit.

The other two retrofits — low rolling resistance tires and trailer side skirts— reduce fuel consumption by cutting friction and drag and improving the aerodynamics of the tractor-trailer combination.

Construction companies have also improved emissions controls on older equipment as part of a broader overhaul. As with the other diesel vehicles we’ve discussed, construction equipment often takes a beating during its lifetime. Upgrading an engine to a higher emission control level or installing a new, cleaner engine helps reduce emissions while also addressing ongoing maintenance needs.

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