A major freight hauler operating in two Southern California ports plans to use natural gas vehicle (NGV) engines fueled with renewable natural gas (RNG) as part of an emissions reduction initiative.

The result is supposed to lead to the lowest emissions levels in North America at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Intermodal trucking company Overseas Freight plans to use five Kenworth T-880 Trucks powered by the Cummins-Westport engines. Clean Energy Fuels Corp. agreed to supply the RNG fuel.

State and regional programs are involved as part of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, allowing the trucking company to obtain Proposition 1B funding for the trucks, whose engines are certified to reduce nitrogen oxide emission by 90%.

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Regional air pollution regulators pointed out that the two ports are vital economic engines for Southern California, but they also are the region's largest source of air pollution.

Meanwhile, Washington, DC-based NGVAmerica is advocating NGV heavy duty fleet operators apply for funding via the $2.9 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust funding established as part of a recent Volkswagen (VW) emission settlement. All but three states have issued fund distribution plans, according to President Daniel Gage.

VW grants would be available for purchasing new and replacement vehicles. First-round applications are being accepted in Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri and New Jersey.

In other developments, the Natural Gas Vehicle Institute (NGVI) is offering compressed natural gas fuel system inspector training on an e-learning basis to complement related training programs. It would incorporate applicable codes, standards and industry best practices. The course prepares technicians for eventually taking the certification examination for CNG fuel system inspector.

"Offering CNG fuel system Inspector training in both e-learning and instructor-led formats gives fleet and dealer service managers maximum flexibility," said NGVi co-founder Annalloyd Thomason.