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Industry’s First Truck with a 12-Liter Near-Zero Emission Engine Delivered

Representatives from the California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership, Kenworth Truck Company and AJR Trucking announced delivery of the first near-zero emission 12-liter natural gas truck. Co-owners Jack and Chris Khudikyan of AJR Trucking, a port drayage and mail delivery trucking fleet, were on hand to receive the keys to the first truck equipped with the Cummins Westport 12-liter ISX12N engine at a ceremony held during the ACT Expo in Long Beach, California.

The ISX12N is the only engine to be certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as meeting the agency’s toughest optional Low NOx standard, which is 90 percent cleaner than current federal EPA emission standards.

“This new truck, which is the cleanest heavy-duty truck commercially available on the market today, is the first of many that will hit the road this year and will help transform the heavy-duty transportation market” said Todd Campbell, Chair of the California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership (CNGVP), an alliance of private and public entities interested in the deployment of low-emission natural gas vehicles throughout the State, and VP of public policy and regulatory affairs at Clean Energy Fuels Corp. “With seven out of ten of the nation’s most polluted cities here in California, an immediate deployment of ultra-clean natural gas trucks is vital to improving the air quality throughout the State.”

The truck was purchased with funds from the Proposition 1B (Prop 1B) incentive pool managed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Prop 1B funds projects that reduce emissions from goods movement operations by helping eligible fleet owners replace their aging diesel trucks with up to $100,000 towards the purchase of a new clean-burning natural gas truck.

According to Jack Khudikyan, AJR Trucking has been testing a “pre-commercial” CNG equipped Kenworth T680 for close to a year. “We wanted to get familiar with how a CNG-equipped engine worked and how re-fueling would go,” he said. “That experience told us it was very viable. That led us to put in motion a contract bid with the USPS, and we gained the business due to providing mail service with a fleet of Kenworths and the new near-zero engine. We plan to further our commitment to CNG with more near-zero emission trucks, in more routes, this year.”

After the ACT Expo, the Kenworth T680 will go into service delivering mail from Santa Clarita (northern Los Angeles) to Los Angeles International Airport. In subsequent weeks, 19 more T680s with the new 12-liter engines will be delivered and placed into service. The Kenworth T680s were purchased through Inland Kenworth – Montebello.

The Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a CNGVP steering committee member company, worked with AJR Trucking to submit 46 Prop 1B applications, assisting the trucking company with obtaining funds to purchase the Kenworth T680s. Many CNGVP member companies provide support for fleets to develop competitive applications for funding to offset some of the incremental cost of switching from older, higher-polluting diesel trucks to clean natural gas vehicles.

When near-zero emission natural gas trucks are fueled by renewable natural gas (RNG), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be reduced by 60 to 400 percent. Already, 60 percent of natural gas fleets in California are fueled with RNG and this number is expected to climb to about 90 percent by the end of this year.

The transportation sector is responsible for about 40 percent of California’s GHG emissions and more than 80 percent of the state’s NOx, or smog-forming, emissions. Making the switch from diesel to near-zero NOx natural gas trucks is vital to achieving the state’s GHG reduction goals and cleaning the air throughout the state.