Join BREATHE LA in calling for an end to diesel fuel now in California!

Why End Diesel?

We’re calling to End Diesel Now.

Our children are growing up breathing dirty air that has the potential to create a lifetime of health problems.

For decades, Southern California has been a world leader in cleaning the air by reducing smog and other pollutants. Our leaders took bold steps to make the environment healthier for all Angelenos. What once was a skyline so polluted that people couldn’t see the mountains that surround the region, is a much cleaner skyline. But our air is still not clean enough

Today, we are at another crossroads. In 2019, the region set a new record for how many days it has violated federal smog standards. One of the key reasons is diesel particulate matter (DPM) pollution from the ever-increasing goods movement and trade sector. DPM is the soot that comes from diesel exhaust of diesel-fueled trucks, trains, ships, planes, buses, construction equipment and other heavy-duty cargo handling equipment.

With up to 55 percent of Southern Californians’ exposure to DPM taking place during the time spent in motor vehicles, diesel is one of the leading barriers to cleaner air. Our children are growing up breathing dirty air that has the potential to create a lifetime of health problems.

That’s why we’re calling to END DIESEL NOW.

Our Health

Diesel affects our health.

Diesel is toxic for our health in countless ways. The largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California is the transportation sector. Diesel-powered trucks and buses account for only 3 percent of the vehicles on the road, yet they produce 23 percent of the sector’s GHG emissions. In addition, diesel exhaust is a major source of air pollution, black carbon, and DPM.

Diesel exhaust includes more than 40 substances listed as hazardous air pollutants by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB). This can trigger many health problems, including heart disease, lung disease, and asthma.

Asthma rates in Los Angeles have increased dramatically in the last three decades. Children, in particular, are vulnerable to the impact of diesel. In fact, children exposed to high levels of diesel exhaust are five times more likely to have underdeveloped lungs. Asthma is the most prevalent chronic disease among children, affecting 9 percent of children ages 0 to 17, and is the leading cause of children’s visits to hospital emergency rooms.

The highest level of exposure to diesel is experienced by people living near ports, rail yards, and freeways where diesel fuel is used to operate heavy duty trucks, vehicles, and machinery. It is estimated that approximately 70 percent of total known cancer risk related to air toxins in the state of California is attributable to DPM. Moreover, The International Agency for Research on Cancer found evidence that determined diesel engine exhaust is “carcinogenic to humans.”

Issue at the Ports

Cleaning up the San Pedro Bay Port Complex.

In 2006, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles created and approved the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), which is an air quality plan that aims to reduce port-related air pollution and related health risks. A critical component of the CAAP is advancing the Clean Trucks Program that strives to transition the current drayage truck fleet to near-zero technologies in the near-term and zero-emissions technologies by 2035. A key element of the Clean Trucks Programs is the implementation of a Clean Truck Fund (CTF) Rate. This rate, as proposed in the 2017 CAAP Update, will be charged to beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) – large companies such as Walmart and Amazon – for loaded heavy-duty container trucks to enter or exit the ports’ terminals. The goal of the CTF Rate is to help truckers subsidize the cost of a clean truck.

An economic study was commissioned by the ports to determine the feasibility of a CTF Rate, and the ports have proposed a fee of $10 per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) on diesel trucks that enter and exit the ports’ terminals. According to the ports’ study, a fee of $10/TEU will only raise $90 million, which is an insufficient amount of money necessary to turn over the fleet of diesel trucks to near-zero and zero-emission technologies. Currently, there are roughly 18,000 trucks that are registered at the Port. Of that 18,000, approximately 8,000 are pre-2010 diesel trucks that will be banned by state law on January 1, 2023. The Port has a chance to convert 45 percent of the drayage fleet to near-zero and zero-emission technologies ahead of the 2023 deadline, but by instituting a CTF Rate of $10/TEU, the Port is not serious about achieving their CAAP goals.


Who’s calling the shots?

Any proposed CTF Rate that is to be adopted must be approved by the Board of Harbor Commissioners. The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners is appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti while the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners is appointed by Mayor Robert Garcia. Members of the community are encouraged to attend public meetings hosted by the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and Port of Long Beach (POLB) to share thoughts and opinions regarding the proposed CTF Rate and health-related matters as they pertain to the Ports. Additionally, you can sign our petition that will send an email to the appropriate elected and appointed officials regarding the harmful impacts of diesel pollution and instituting a strong CTF Rate.

California Governor Gavin Newsom stated “a goal of zero diesel pollution by 2030” as a campaign promise. Elected and appointed officials should strive to meet Governor Newsom’s goals, and organizations like the Ports should put forward ideas and plans that will chart us on a course to accomplish these important benchmarks.

Our Position & Action

BREATHE LA’s position and Call to Action

In order to accomplish goals as set forth in the 2017 CAAP Update and achieve benchmarks as desired by Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti, BREATHE LA believes a $70/TEU is the CTF Rate necessary to transition the ports’ current drayage fleet to near-zero and zero-emission technologies. According to the ports’ study, a $70/TEU would not divert a single container of existing volume. It is estimated that a $70/TEU would only divert up to 1.4 percent of future container volume, which will increase every year regardless. A 1.4 percent reduction in future volume is a very small price to pay for the health and wellbeing of our residents. The Ports must demonstrate how they will transition their dirty diesel trucks to the cleanest technologies available. By incorporating a $70/TEU fee on companies like Walmart and Amazon, we can clean up the port and protect our residents.

BREATHE LA cannot fight for our health alone. We need your help. Please join our petition calling on elected and appointed officials to protect the health of our residents now.

How you can get involved!

Join BREATHE LA in calling on policymakers to End Diesel Now across California

Reducing emissions from diesel can have an immediate positive impact on air quality and our public health.

Upcoming Meetings

To Be Announced

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Contact Public Officials

Contact public officials to express your concern about the impact diesel has on public health and the need to End Diesel Now.


Follow BREATHE LA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtag #EndDieselNow when posting.


Make your voice heard by joining us at public events to talk directly to regulators and policymakers about the need to End Diesel Now.


Get informed through our emails, as well as our telephone and in-person workshops to learn more about the issue and techniques to be an effective advocate.