The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $5 million to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) to help Southern truckers and small businesses to buy cleaner big rigs.

The money, awarded through the SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program, will guarantee loans used to buy retrofitted used tractor-trailers at Rush Truck Centers throughout the South. These trucks will run substantially cleaner than other rigs of the same vintage.

"We are thrilled to receive this important award and excited to kick-off our 'Clean Trucks Make Cents' program," said Anne Blair, Clean Diesel and Bioenergy Program Manager for SACE. "The financing will play an important role in updating older, dirty diesel trucks with clean diesel technology, helping reduce emissions and improve air quality in the Southeast."

Rush Enterprises, Inc. will be the exclusive vendor for these greener used trucks, starting at its Nashville (Smyrna), TN, dealership, and expanding to other Southeast locations over the next few years. Rush Truck Centers and SACE will determine select used trucks to be retrofitted, and buyers will also have the option of choosing to retrofit a pre-2007 vehicle from other trucks in inventory at the dealer's locations.

"The Clean Trucks Make Cents program is another way Rush Truck Centers can help support the EPA, SmartWay, and SACE's efforts to reduce emissions and improve air quality for our customers, employees and their families and neighbors in the areas we operate," said W. M. "Rusty" Rush, President and CEO of Rush Enterprises. "We are happy to offer our customers a cleaner, greener, economical option for Class 8 truck buyers who might not be able to afford the increased cost of a new 2010 emissions-compliant truck."

The Clean Trucks Make Cents program is focused on the eight Southeastern states that make up EPA Region 4, where about 16 million people are subject to levels of air pollution that do not meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone, the main component in smog. About 8 million are exposed to air quality that violates the federal standards for particulate matter.

"The program will help address trucks that operate through major transportation corridors in this region, reducing emissions and community exposure, particularly at delivery sites such as rail yards, grocery stores and truck distribution centers," Blair said.

The Clean Trucks Make Cents program will finance up to 100% of the purchase or lease of a pre-2007 tractor-trailer. It is designed to help drivers and small businesses who might not normally qualify for such a loan but who want to make the move to a cleaner, greener truck. Rush Truck Centers in Nashville (Smyrna), Tennessee as well as Tampa and Winter Garden, Florida will have retrofitted trucks in stock in early 2011. Buyers will also have the option of choosing from our more than 800 used trucks in inventory throughout the country to be retrofitted with the verified emissions and idle reduction systems.

Interested buyers can get complete program details by contacting Rush Truck Centers in Nashville, Winter Garden or Tampa, and search complete used truck inventory online at beginning in January.

For more information on the program, visit The program will run through December 2014.