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EPA provides $44 million for states to trade in old diesel vehicles

School buses, locomotive engines, heavy-duty trucks -- the EPA aims to reduce diesel emissions with funds for new vehicles.

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It'll be a weird future when semi-trucks zip around town silently. 

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Although states and the federal government remained locked in battle over relaxing fuel economy and emissions regulations, the EPA is still honed in on diesel vehicles. The agency announced on Tuesday that it will award $44 million to states that aim to replace a variety of older diesel vehicles in an effort to reduce air pollution.

"Modernizing our nation's aging fleet of diesel-powered vehicles is an important part of the Trump Administration's plan to further reduce harmful emissions and guide counties and States from nonattainment, into attainment," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said of the announcement. The government agency also noted that diesel engines are responsible for 90% of freight duty in the US.

That includes nearly every Class 5-8 truck on the road, locomotives and even commercial boats.

The $44 million will be dished out across 10 regions with groups of states lumped into each one. The maximum amount an an area can request sits in region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington), while other maxes climb to as much as $3 million in region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin). Obviously, region 5 is part of the midwest, where a massive amount of freight travels daily.

The grants can be used to replace old diesel buses, freight trucks, vehicles not meant for the road (construction equipment) and more. The new vehicles must be cleaner than what they replace, obviously, and the funds may also go toward certain EPA or CARB-approved projects to further reduce diesel vehicle emissions. Applicants will get priority funding if they can prove that they'll continue efforts to decrease diesel emissions after this project ends.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 26 and the EPA will notify selected applicants in May.

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