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Eugene, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Eugene School District 4J have replaced the district’s last few “dirty diesel” school buses with new low-emissions models. The 13 new clean diesel buses have lower emissions, better fuel efficiency and enhanced safety features.

As of July 1, 4J’s fleet of school buses is now devoid of the older, dirtier version of diesel buses. All 122 school buses are now equipped with exhaust control technology, and all but 12 of the vehicles include controls for both nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions. This brings the school district in compliance with the Oregon statutory requirement for clean diesel engines far ahead of the 2025 deadline.

The 13 new school buses are paid for in part through DEQ’s Diesel Bus Replacement grant program. The agency’s goal is to replace at least 450 dirty diesel school buses using its Clean Diesel Engine Fund over the next several years. The fund is supported through the VW Diesel Emissions Settlement. The Oregon Department of Education will reimburse 4J for the remaining cost of the new buses.

“Scrapping older diesel vehicles and replacing them with new, lower emitting vehicles will result in significant improvements to public health and the environment in Oregon,” said DEQ’s Director, Richard Whitman. “This program is a great example of DEQ collaborating with local communities to inspire innovative action and achieve our shared goals.”

DEQ notes that the major problem associated with diesel engines is the air pollution they emit, including a complex mixture of toxic gases and fine particles. These pollutants increase the risk of cancer and can cause many health problems, including heart, respiratory and neurological diseases. Improved technology in the clean diesel engines significantly reduces the amount of pollution associated with the diesel engine. In addition, several studies have documented health benefits for students from lower emissions buses, including improved lung function and reduced incidence of bronchitis and asthma, with resulting decreases in absenteeism.

“This project was an important opportunity to decrease air pollution while simultaneously reducing operational costs and improving student safety and fuel efficiency,” said Chris Ellison, director of 4J Transportation.

DEQ plans to distribute more clean diesel buses to school districts throughout the state over the next several years. The Clean Diesel Engine Fund is supported through the VW Diesel Emissions Settlement, which finances eligible pollution mitigation projects.

“Congratulations to 4J on completing the cleanup of its fleet with safer and more fuel-efficient buses,” said Merlyn Hough, director of Lane Regional Air Protection Agency. “We’re excited to see the positive impact cleaner transportation technology has on our airshed.”

Key Facts:
• 13 Model Year 2020 Thomas C2 conventional-style school buses
• Purchased from Schetky Northwest Bus Sales, an Oregon company
• Total cost: $1.2 million (DEQ provides 30% and ODE provides 70% of funds)

Links:
• Clean Diesel Engine Fund https://go.usa.gov/xyCb5
• “The Concerns About Diesel Engine Exhaust” https://go.usa.gov/xyYer

Contact:
Hillary Johnson, 4J Communications Specialist, johnson_hi@4j.lane.edu, 541-790-7734

Katherine Benenati, DEQ Public Affairs Specialist, benenati.katherine@deq.state.or.us, 541-686-7997

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Categories:
Environment & Energy
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