fuel is already available, but in limited quantities. A high-sulfur diesel fee would encourage the more immediate use of low-sulfur fuel.
In FY 2000, some 228 million gallons of diesel were sold in Texas for off-highway use and about 2.8 billion gallons of diesel were sold for on-highway use. So, a 5 cent per gallon fee could generate about $150 million for the state. These monies could allow the Texas Legislature to fund a diesel retrofit program through fiscal year 2007. A 5 cent high-sulfur fee would be structured to “sunset” soon after the new state and federal diesel standards are implemented in June 2006. A 5 cent high-sulfur diesel fee imposed beginning in FY 2004 could nearly fund TERP for three years.
Health Effects of Diesel Emissions in Texas
Emissions from diesel engines contribute greatly to the ozone problem in major metropolitan areas of Texas. In the five-county Central Texas metropolitan area, on and off-road diesel engines contribute 40 percent of all NOx emissions from mobile sources and 23 percent of all NOx emissions, according to a 1999 emissions inventory26. In the Houston-Galveston and Dallas-Fort Worth non-attainment areas, diesel engines also are major contributors to NOx emissions, contributing to 35 and 45 percent of all on-road and off-road NOx emissions (see related graphs). These NOx emissions contributes to the formation of ozone, which affects asthma and other respiratory ailments. In addition to ozone, in 1996 Texas emissions of diesel soot from mobile sources totaled 27,100 tons, 64 percent of particulate matter from all sources. Diesel exhausts from both on-road and off-road engines also are a significant source of some of the most deadly kinds of toxic air pollution in Texas. Diesel exhaust is a mixture of more than 450 different components, including toxic gases and fine particles. More than 40 chemicals in diesel exhaust are considered toxic and have been linked to cancer and the disruption of the reproductive system. Texas residents on average face a one-in-2,747 risk of getting cancer from pollutants in the outdoor air, which is 364 times greater than the one- in-one-million health protective standard established in the Clean Air Act. Eighty- eight percent of this added cancer risk is from the filthy soot released by diesel-powered trucks, buses, construction and farm equipment.27 Both the formation of harmful ozone and cancer- related deaths can be reduced in Texas if the Legislature takes action this session to fund a diesel cleanup program and a clean car incentive program.
Summary on Diesel Fee
Without significant new controls on diesel emissions, millions of Americans will continue to breathe unhealthy air. The new standards will result in substantial benefits to the public health and welfare through significant annual reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxides, fine particulate matter,
hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and air toxins.
The clean air impact of this
program will be dramatic when fully implemented. These emission reductions will prevent 8,300 premature deaths, more than 9,500 hospitalizations, and 1.5 million workdays lost. In order to maintain the timeline for cleaning up Texas’ air, we need to fully fund TERP. This temporary 5 cent fee is a viable way to make sure we stay on track and make sure that those benefiting from the
26 Information from 1999 Central Texas Emissions Inventory, available at http://www.tcet.state.tx.us/PDF/062502ULSD/Wadepercent20Thomason.PDF.
27 Dangers of Diesel, October 2002 report by U.S. PIRG Education Fund: http://www.uspirg.org/reports/dangersofdiesel2002/dangersofdieselreport2002.pdf