The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) is providing more than $11 million in grants to government agencies to replace older heavy-duty vehicles and equipment with clean alternatives. The grants are the last to be awarded through the N.C. Volkswagen Settlement Program with the state’s share of the national settlement with the automaker.
These awards will fund the replacement of 45 on-road and off-road diesel vehicles, including bucket trucks, refuse haulers, dump trucks, box trucks, front loaders, semi-trucks, freight trucks, and freight switchers. Nearly half of the funds in the program will be used to provide electric vehicle replacements.
According to DAQ, replacing the old diesel vehicles with clean alternatives will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by more than 113 tons, particulate matter by 5,928 pounds, and greenhouse gases by more than 6,970 tons. NOx and particulate matter have been linked to heart and lung conditions, particularly in children and older adults.
In this grant program, 67% of funds were awarded to vehicle replacement projects in rural counties and 74% will go to projects in the historically under-resourced counties targeted for additional outreach and support during the application process.
These clean heavy-duty vehicle and equipment replacements mark the final grants DAQ will award with the $98 million that the state is investing in cleaner mobile source sector technology through the N.C. Volkswagen Settlement Program. Past grants were awarded to replace transit and school buses and to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure across North Carolina.
The N.C. Volkswagen Settlement Program still has more than $869,000 available in rebates to help fund new Level 2 electric vehicle chargers. Chargers can be installed at workplaces, apartment complexes, parks, urban centers or other locations. Rebates up to a maximum of $5,000 are available to government applicants and up to $4,000 to non-government applicants for each new charging port installed.
DAQ will also accept applications for its annual Mobile Sources Emissions Reductions grants through Nov. 14. More than $1 million is available to support a wide range of projects, including the replacement of school buses, nonroad construction and agricultural equipment, heavy-duty on-road vehicles and locomotives with new, clean equipment and vehicles.