The EPA is making available $49.2 million in grant-funding for clean diesel technology — a substantial increase from the Clean Diesel program's 2007 budget of about $7 million.

“The challenge we have is the 11 million diesel engines on the road [that predate current engine standards] that can last 20 to 25 years,” said Margo Oge, director of EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, during a teleconference. “We believe the technology developed can be applied to existing engines; the solution is to retrofit, or replace, the old diesel engines.”

According to Oge, the $49.2 million in funds are divided into two parts. Seventy percent — about $34.4 million — is for national grants to any eligible entities, which include state, local, regional and tribal governments, as well as non-profits or any institution with transportation, educational services or air quality responsibilities.

The national program includes $3.4 million to support “emerging technologies” that have not yet been verified by EPA but have shown signs of being promising for retrofitting, and another $3.4 million for the SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program to establish revolving loans for fleets.

The remaining $14.8 million is earmarked for state programs.

The $49.2 million in funds was authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and funded for the first time this fiscal year. It will be administered by EPA's National Clean Diesel Campaign as well as EPA regional offices and public and private sector partners.

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