The Virginia Port Authority recently announced its support for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership with the launch of a pilot program that offers low-cost financing to purchase diesel trucks with more emission efficient engines or to retrofit older models for efficiency.
This program brings together lenders and truck dealers under a special low-interest loan offer designed to help truckers buy new, more emission-efficient rigs. The loan can be used to finance upgrades to existing trucks for things like fuel-saving auxiliary power units, widebased tires and improving the aerodynamics of tractors and trailers. It is estimated that truck owners who make a purchase using this program can save between $100 and $200 a month. The program is the first of its kind for U.S. ports.
“We are encouraging use of this offer and will promote it within the trucking community because it provides some very real incentives to the drivers,” said Heather Mantz, the VPA’s environmental director. “This program, combined with the decision to use ultra low-sulfur diesel [ULSD] fuel in our vehicle fleet at the terminals, will help the region’s air quality.”
In July, Virginia International Terminals Inc., the VPA’s private terminal operating company, voluntarily began using ULSD in its fleet of nearly 500 vehicles. The switch came almost three years ahead of a federally-mandated change for ports to use cleaner burning fuel in their equipment.