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NYC Legislation Mandates Increases in Fuel Economy, Reductions in Emissions

The New York City Council’s (NYCC) Committee on Environmental Protection passed a wide-ranging set of five initiatives, that, if passed by the full Council and then signed into laws by the Mayor, would implement stricter emissions standards as well as mandating a 20% increase in fuel economy by 2015 for new vehicles the city purchases.

Introduction (NYCC terminology for proposed legislation) 414-A amends the 1991 law requiring 80% of the city’s purchase of vehicles weighing 8,500 pounds or less (excluding emergency vehicles) to be alternative fuel vehicles or hybrids.

Alternative fuels are natural gas (CNG, LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), hydrogen, electricity and any fuel at least 85% methanol, ethanol, any other alcohol or ether.

New York will halt the purchase of bi-fuel or flex fuel vehicles. Any such currently in its fleet is mandated to run solely on the alternative fuel on which it is capable of operating.

Vehicles purchased must attain the lowest-emission vehicle rating in its category. (New York is one of the states to adopt the California requirements, so New York City’s hierarchy of desirability runs from ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) at the top down to LEV (Low Emission Vehicle) at the bottom.)

The initiative also mandates minimum increases in the average fuel economy of vehicles purchased by the city over the next ten years, starting with a 5% increase in fiscal 2006 and rising to a 20% increase by fiscal year 2015.

The other major section of 414 deals with buses, sanitation vehicles and street sweepers.

At least 20% of city buses purchased annually be alternative fuel buses—these also include hybrids. The city will implement a testing program for alternative fuel street sweepers. (This clause is a disappointment to the CNG vendors, who were hoping for a purchase mandate, not a testing program. ) Likewise, the Department of Sanitation must assess the feasibility of alternative fuel refuse collection vehicles.

Introduction 415-A requires the use of ultra low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) in every diesel-powered vehicle owned or operated by a City agency.

All heavy-duty diesels must have and engine or retrofit to meet the 2007 EPA standard for PM on a phased-in schedule ranging from 7% of all vehicles by 2007 through 100% by 2012.

Introduction 416-A further tackles refuse and recycling vehicles, requiring that any diesels (on-road or off-road) operating by any entity in performance of a city contract use ultra low-sulfur diesel, and also retrofit for PM reductions.

To win a city contract, the bidder must permit independent monitoring of compliance.

Introduction 417-A mandates the use of diesel retrofit technology on any site-seeing bus with an engine more than three-years old, unless already in compliance with the EPA 2007 standards.

Introduction 428-A, also passed by the Committee on Education, mandates the use of ULSD in diesel-powered school buses (subject to availability or control). The legislation mandates the use of retrofit technology and compliance with EPA 2007.

Biodiesel is not mentioned as an alternative.



John A

yeah, we were pushing hard for that mandate, too. it's too bad, DSNY was an early adopter of the CNG trucks and had a lot of technical problems, so they were pretty dead set against a mandate this time around. FYI, during the hearings DSNY mentioned that they're planning to develop diesel-hybrid refuse trucks in the next few years - it'll be interesting to see what happens with that.

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