In a recent report presented to Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency highlighted the benefits of its Diesel Emission Reduction Program, including reducing nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions and cutting fuel consumption by 3.2 million gallons.

The program, which was funded at $50 million last year, allowed EPA to fund the purchase or retrofitting of 14,000 diesel-powered vehicles and pieces of equipment.

The report found that the program reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide by 46,000 tons and particulate matter by 2,200 tons over the lifetime of diesel vehicles. In addition, under the SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program, the EPA program saves 3.2 million gallons of fuel a year, saving operators $8 million annually. The EPA report also says the program results in public health benefits between $500 million and $1.4 billion.

Under the diesel emissions reduction program, which is made up of both national grant competitions and direct state allocations, EPA provides support for retrofits, repairs, replacements, idle reduction, cleaner fuels, innovative financing for clean technologies under the SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program, and other strategies.

In a statement, the Diesel Technology Forum applauded the EPA's efforts and agreed with the study's results. Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the non-profit group, believes there would be even more benefits if the program had more funding.

"While this report highlights many impressive accomplishments, imagine what further benefits could be achieved if the program was fully funded at its authorized $200 million level," said Schaeffer.

The program is authorized to receive $200 million each year until fiscal year 2011, but the government approved $60 million for the national program in fiscal year 2009. Congress is expected to approve another $60 million for fiscal year 2010.

For more information on clean diesel grants and funding, visit